As both the temperature outside and your activity level increases during the summer, so do your chances of becoming dehydrated.  Dehydration will occur when you don’t drink enough water and your body loses too much fluid, either through sweating, diarrhea or vomiting.  Your muscles may become tired and begin to cramp or you may feel faint.  If you become severely dehydrated, your body could go into shock, which is a life-threatening condition.

The basic rule of thumb always applies:  If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

To help prevent dehydration follow these guidelines:

  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water or other rehydrating drink per day.  When you are exercising, drink every 15 to 20 minutes.  Drink a sports-type drink if you are going to be exercising longer than one hour.
  • Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.  Both will increase urine output and make you become dehydrated faster.
  • Do not take salt tablets.
  • Get out of the heat if you begin to become dizzy, have lightheadedness or experience fatigue.

If you experience symptoms such as cramping muscles and feeling faint, and do not begin to feel better once you have gotten out of the heat and have drank some water or sports-type drink, you should contact your physician. If you are experiencing symptoms of severe dehydration, which include loss of consciousness and little or no urination, you need to seek medical attention immediately.  Call 911.

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