Healthy Living

Preventing Dehydration

Dehydration results when you lose water in your body. The rule of thumb is, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, even before you begin your outdoor activity,” said Dr. Irvin Sulapas, a primary care sports medicine physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor University Medical Center. 

Here are the ways to prevent dehydration

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1. Drink a lot of water

Most of the time, you can avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. When you are dehydrated, you will feel thirsty more often than usual. Therefore, whenever you are thirsty, listen to what your body needs and drink water. If you are in hot weather, sweat due to exercise, or if you are sick, you are at risk of being dehydrated. Make up for your fluid loss by consuming more water.  

It is difficult to say how much fluid to take in as people will sweat at different rates. Naturally, you need to drink more fluids when you are exercising, have an illness, or in warm weather. The reason is simple: you tend to sweat more and lose more water in your body in these conditions.

Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day is the standard and a good habit to keep you hydrated. Drink water even if you do not feel thirsty or you may take small sips of water throughout the day. By the time you are truly thirsty and needing water, you're body is nearing dehydration.

Increase your water intake by eating foods that contain more carbohydrates and electrolyte-rich drinks such as watermelon and other fruit. Another good idea is to treat yourself by making popsicles that are made of juice or sports drinks. Consuming these drinks will make sure that you get the right amount of fluids for your body..

2. Consuming more fluids when you are sick

Illnesses that cause vomiting, diarrhea, or fever can lead to an loss of fluid in your body. If necessary, you can rehydrate yourself at home by drinking oral rehydration solutions (ORS), which can be purchased at the grocery store or pharmacy. These rehydration solutions will also allow you to keep hydrated while recovering from your illness.

3. Avoid a high-protein diet

A high protein diet requires additional water than normal.

4. Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages act as diuretics, which means that if you consume alcoholic drinks, you also tend to urinate more. If you are drinking alcohol and frequently urinate, you may lose a significant amount of fluid in your body leaving you dehydrated.

If you are drinking alcohol or wine, just make sure that you also drink water to compensate for the expected fluid loss in your body.

5. Watch your caffeine intake

If you are love your coffee or coca-cola, be sure to drink water as well to prevent dehydration, especially in warm weather. Similar to alcohol, caffeine is a diuretic.  

6. Be cautious exercising outdoors in hot weather 

Do not exercise under the blazing sun since it will make you easily dehydrated. If you have been working outdoors and if you suddenly feel lightheaded, dizzy, or tired, immediately stop exercising. If you 

7. Foods to prevent dehydration

Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. They are high in fiber, which makes them easy to digest and they also contain a lot of water in them. Eating fruits and vegetables will keep you hydrated and light after meals. They have a high water content, and therefore, will help you to remain hydrated twice as effectively as a glass of water.

Low-fat meals are another good option. Meals high in fat require more time to digest and tend to be high in sodium increasing fluid loss in your body. Remember that if you eat salty foods, your body needs more water to get rid of the excess sodium. 

8. Recognize the early warning signs of dehydration

Parents and caregivers should be able to recognize the early warning signs of dehydration such as thirst, having dark urine, dry mouth, nose, and skin, dizziness, feeling tired or fatigued, headache, and muscle cramping. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it signifies that you are dehydrated. 

10. Avoid high-protein drinks in large quantities

Just like any high-protein diet, drinks that are high in protein can be dehydrating. If you consume these drinks, just make sure that you drink enough water to compensate. 

Key Takeaways

  • Most of the time, you can avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. 
  • Illnesses such as severe vomiting, diarrhea, or fever can lead to an excessive loss of fluid in your body.
  • Thirst is the first symptom of dehydration.
  • Dehydration happens for many reasons, including exercise, diarrhea, vomiting, and sweating.