In this summer’s recent heatwave, temperatures have soared into triple digits in some parts of the U.S., while other areas were still dangerously hot, increasing the risk of dehydration.
Marijke Vroomen Durning, an RN nursing contributor to Forbes, suggests dehydration ranges from mild to severe but even mild dehydration can cause discomfort.
“People who are mildly dehydrated may complain about having a headache or having a dry mouth, for example.”
As the dehydration worsens, Durning says victims could experience some of these signs and symptoms:
• Lightheadedness, particularly when standing from a sitting position
• Nausea and vomiting
Durning adds that as the dehydration becomes more serious, victims may become confused, stop sweating, be unable to produce tears, and urine output may drop.
“Urine that is passed will likely be very concentrated (normal urine is straw-colored). Additional symptoms are muscle cramping and heart palpitations.”
“Children have a greater risk of dehydration and overheating because they sweat less, they have a greater surface area to body mass, and they produce more heat when exercising,” says Reyna Franco, MS, RD, a New York City-based registered dietitian-nutritionist.
“They also may not recognize feeling thirsty and they rely on adults to get fluids,” she adds. Young children may also get distracted and ignore signs of thirst, not wanting to interrupt their activities.
Here are ten tips on beating the heat this summer, staying hydrated, and signs to watch:
#1: Drink water well in advance of actually feeling thirsty. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will promote dehydration
#2: Eat these super hydrated foods, loaded with vitamins
#3: A fan doesn’t always cut it. AC really is best – get to a cooling center or shopping mall, etc.
#4: Resist the urge to workout outdoors. Once you start to feel the heat it may be too late. Take it easy, or go to gym.
#5: Don’t cook. Eat frequent small meals of cold fruit or low fat dairy products.
#6: Spice up your water with these drinking water combinations
#7: Signs of heat stroke: altered mental behavior, body temp rising quickly. Immediately call 911.
#8: Elderly are more at risk because many medications get in way of normal body temp regulation. Keep particular eye on elderly.
#9: Wear loose-fitting, light colored clothes. Light-colored clothing reflects light and absorbs less heat. The more heat absorbed by clothing, the hotter you are.
#10: Take frequent baths or showers with cool water.