With summer temperatures in full effect, it’s important to watch out for dehydration. While many believe that dehydration can only happen during extreme activities, the truth is that anyone can unknowingly suffer. Infants, elderly individuals and individuals living in high-altitude climates or high humidity climates, are at an even greater risk of developing dehydration and should always be on the lookout for red flags.

What are the causes of dehydration? According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several possible causes of dehydration. The most common include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Excessive urination

What are the symptoms of dehydration? The Mayo Clinic also suggests that there are different levels of severity regarding dehydration. Here are the most common signs of each.

Mild to moderate dehydration:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness
  • Moderate thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • No wet diapers for three hours, (for infants)
  • Minimal tear production when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Severe dehydration (requiring immediate medical attention):

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
  • Very dry mouth and/or skin
  • Little or no urination
  • Dark urination
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled and dry skin
  • In infants, a sunken ‘soft spot’ on the top of a baby’s head
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • No tears when crying
  • Fever
  • Unconsciousness

What complications can occur from dehydration? Those suffering from dehydration, particularly at the more severe level, are likely to suffer from additional issues. If left untreated, dehydration can lead to:

female runner sweating

  • Heat injury such as a heat-stroke
  • Swelling of the brain (cerebral edema)
  • Seizures, caused by an imbalance in electrolytes
  • Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock)
  • Kidney failure
  • Coma
  • Death

How can you avoid dehydration? According to WebMD, there are several precautions you can take to avoid becoming dehydrated. Some examples include:

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after workouts. Click here to find out how much water you really need.
  • Drink sports drinks if physical exertion exceeds 60 minutes
  • Avoid caffeine when possible
  • Avoid alcohol, especially on hot/humid days or whenever you plan to be active
  • Wear light-weight, light-colored clothing
  • Take a break if you begin to feel dizzy, lightheaded or develop a headache

While we all want to enjoy the summer sun and stay as active as possible, make sure you’re taking care of yourself and others during this steamy season. Hate the taste of plain water? Try adding some of these little treats to pump up the flavor while staying hydrated!