How Much Waters Needed to Stay Hydrated?
Drink Plenty of Water!
8-10, 8-ounce glasses a day.
A lot of people miss the signs of mild dehydration. A change in mood, constipation, muscle cramps, tight calves, and constipation can all signal that your water levels are running low.
Children have stronger thirst mechanisms.
If you are a parent you can probably remember a time when your child would cry and carry on that they were so thirsty they could not wait for a drink of water. We probably didn’t take this seriously and thought they were overreacting. As it turns out our thirst mechanism is so strong when we are young that they probably were not exaggerating how thirsty they really felt. As we age that thirst mechanism stops working like it did when we are younger so we are not notified we are thirsty until it is too late. Drinking water becomes much more of a chore as we get older and often times we just don’t realize how deficient we are.
Signs you are not Drinking Enough Water
- Bad breath - When you are hydrated your body produces enough saliva in the mouth to keep it adequately moistened. Saliva possesses antibacterial properties that regulate bacterial growth in the mouth. If a person becomes dehydrated the saliva production in the mouth reduces causing unpleasant breath.
Dry skin - Well hydrated skin appears doughy while dehydrated skin exhibits a lack of elasticity and resilience. If you pinch the skin together it will not melt back into the body which also points to dehydration.
Sleepiness - Since almost all bodily functions are dictated by fluids you will notice you become sluggish and tired if you are dehydrated.
Irritability and Confusion - Dehydration can cause electrolyte balances in the blood to be off and affect our mood and emotions. Electrolyte imbalances alter serotonin which is responsible for our mood.
Headaches - A headache is your body’s alarm system letting you know that the body is under stress caused by dehydration.
Constipation - A lack of fluid shows up as constipation because the body will redirect fluids into the bloodstream where the need is greater and take away fluids from the digestive tract. Some people start eating high fiber because of constipation only to find that it makes constipation worse. If you increase your fiber intake you need to increase your water intake to get the benefits.
Low blood pressure - Dehydration causes your body’s blood flow to become insufficient to transport enough oxygen and nutrients to various organs,
Dizziness or lightheadedness - Because many of the body’s organs are not being run properly due to lack of water this also includes the brain.
Urine changes - The quantity and color of your urine will reflect your water intake. Darker yellow urine indicating moderate dehydration and brown urine signaling a much more serious condition that could reflect that your organs are shutting down from extreme dehydration.
Muscle Cramps - This will happen when the nerves which connected to the muscles are not surrounded by as much water and sodium as is needed. Involuntary muscle spasms are the result.
How Much Water is Needed to get Rehydrated?
To think that you can drink 8 - 8-ounce glasses of water and be good to go once you have become dehydrated is false. It can take several weeks to a month to totally get your tissues saturated. Each time you drink water only a small amount stays with you as it passes through the body. There are some temperatures that you will not be able to keep hydrated in no matter how much water you drink. In high humidity and sun heavy exercise should be avoided.
Heat stroke occurs when a body is not able to regulate its temperature in severely hot climates due to the sun. Heat stroke is much more severe and is a medical emergency. If not immediately treated it could damage the brain and other parts of the nervous system
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Throbbing headache
- Dizziness and light-headedness
- Lack of sweating
- Red hot and dry skin
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat, which could be strong or weak
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
Heat exhaustion occurs when a person is severely exhausted due a lack of fluids and dehydration. Water in the body is used to get rid of heat produced during exertion. If a person is not hydrated sufficiently or is in temperatures that they can’t stay hydrated in then they would not be able to get rid of excessive heat and thus heat exhaustion occurs.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
- Heavy sweating
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle cramps
If you or someone you know has any of the symptoms of heatstroke or heat exhaustion don’t take it lightly and take the necessary steps to ensure their safety. Get the patient to lay down and elevate their feet preferably in air conditioning. Give them cool water to drink while you spray or sponge them off with cool water while fanning them. Remove any unnecessary clothing to try to help cool their body down. Call for help so that you have the proper care if their symptoms should worsen.