We’ve all been there: Whether it’s a long day at work, dashing around completing errands or even just tossing a ball at the dog park, sometimes drinking enough water just isn’t at the front of our minds. But what happens when we don’t get enough fluid? What’s the difference between everyday thirst and severe dehydration — and how can you prevent both?
Here’s what you need to know about dehydration and how staying hydrated can protect you from some unpleasant side effects.
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is what happens when you lose more water than you take in. Imagine an athlete exercising in hot weather: Their body temperature is high, so they’re losing a lot of fluid through sweat — and if they don’t replenish that fluid by staying hydrated, their body may not be able to perform key functions.
Brush up on these key details about the condition:
What Causes Dehydration?
Dehydration can be caused by a variety of elements, including:
- Illnesses that cause vomiting, diarrhea or increased sweat production
- Prolonged exposure to hot weather
- Vigorous exercise
- Certain medications
Regardless of the circumstances, almost all cases of dehydration have one thing in common: The patient’s water intake wasn’t sufficient to replace lost fluid.
Can Anyone Experience Dehydration?
Yes — anyone can get dehydrated. Although dehydration may not be as common as modern media suggests, it’s still a significant issue for many people, including:
- Young children
- Older adults
- People with certain medical conditions
- Anyone who spends a lot of time in hot weather
Dehydration is a frequent cause of hospital admission and can aggravate other medical conditions, especially in older adults. However, people of all ages should know how to prevent dehydration in themselves, their loved ones and even their pets.
Symptoms of dehydration can differ depending on a person’s age and overall health, as well as the severity of the condition. Here are a few key symptoms to look out for:
- Dry skin
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
Dehydration vs. Heat Stroke
Dehydration and heat stroke are two separate conditions, but they’re closely related. They may even have some of the same symptoms in some cases. Dehydration often leads to heat stroke and other types of heat illness because the body can’t produce enough sweat to cool itself down, leading to headaches, dizziness, rapid heartbeat and, in severe cases, even hallucinations.
Tips for Preventing Dehydration
Even if you’re not at high risk for this condition, it’s important to know how to prevent dehydration. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Know how much water you need: Do you know how much water you should drink in a day? It depends on things like your activity level, overall health and more.
- Don’t rely on sugary drinks: A sugary drink may be a fun treat, but it’s not the best way to prevent dehydration. In fact, research has shown that soft drinks can worsen dehydration — and other beverages like sports drinks may not be good for you, either. That means you’re better off sticking to water.
- Pay attention to the weather: Even if you’re not exercising, hot weather makes you sweat more, which means you’ll lose more fluid. The warmer the temperature, the more water you need to prevent dehydration.
- Bring plenty of water: Whether you’re driving to the grocery store, going on a run or walking to a neighbor’s house, it’s smart to bring enough water to keep you hydrated. Just make sure you choose the right reusable water bottle for your needs.
- Drink water frequently when you’re sick: Remember, symptoms like vomiting can cause dehydration — so if you’re feeling under the weather, keep plenty of water and hydrating foods nearby.
- Know the signs of dehydration: It’s important to know what to look for when it comes to dehydration. If you start to notice certain symptoms, like fatigue or rapid breathing, you’ll be able to slow down, get some water and prevent severe dehydration. If the symptoms are already more serious, you’ll recognize that it might be time to head to the doctor.
The Key to Drinking Enough Water
One tip that didn’t show up on our list is perhaps the most important: actually drinking enough water. Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done, especially if you don’t feel like you can trust your tap water and don’t have an easy way to take fresh, filtered water on the go.
The truth is that having water you don’t feel good about drinking can indirectly lead to dehydration. After all, you probably won’t want to grab a glass of water if you aren’t confident about its quality — which means you’re less likely to get the fluid you need.
That’s why it’s important to take control of your home water quality. The first step is to have a professional water test and consultation, which will help you understand exactly what’s happening when you turn on the tap. Water test results give you key information, including:
- Water hardness levels
- Water pH levels
- Chlorine content
- Whether iron, hydrogen sulfide or other potential contaminants are present*
Once you know what’s standing in the way of proper hydration, you can take action. One of your best options is a drinking water filtration system, which can reduce up to 95% of substances in your water. You can even install mineral boost cartridges to create a virtually endless supply of alkaline water right at your tap.
Prevent Dehydration by Taking Control of Your Water Quality
There’s a lot to know about dehydration — causes, symptoms, solutions and more. While not everyone is at constant risk of dehydration, it’s important to understand this condition and how to avoid it. That way, you can make sure you, your loved ones and even your pets are always getting enough fluid.
But remember, your tap water might be making it more difficult for you to stay hydrated. If you’re worried about your water quality or if you notice aesthetic issues when you turn on the tap, you’re less likely to drink enough. For this reason, it’s important to take control of your water quality. After all, your hydration might just depend on it.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and water test.
*Contaminants may not be present in your water.
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