May 2024 Newsletter


Summer is right around the corner and that means warm weather! Dehydration can happen at any time of year, but warmer temperatures can lead to an increased risk. Untreated dehydration can cause life-threatening complications, so it is vital to monitor oneself for symptoms, particularly in warm weather.

What is dehydration? – Dehydration is the loss of fluid from the body at a faster rate than it can be replaced. Common causes of dehydration are inadequate water intake, illness, and exercise. Left untreated, dehydration can result in heat exhaustion, heat stroke, seizures, or low blood volume shock. Chronic dehydration may even lead to urinary or kidney complications.

Risk factors for dehydration – While anyone can become dehydrated, those with the greatest risk are children and the elderly. This is because infants have less water reserves than adults, and the elderly are more likely to have chronic health conditions or decreased sensation of thirst.

Overexertion or prolonged physical exertion are two other risk factors for dehydration. In summer months, exercising outside may increase the likelihood of dehydration. Bodies produce sweat to cool down, but in humid conditions, this process can be impaired as sweat droplets may not evaporate.

Illnesses such as diarrhea or vomiting can cause dehydration. Burns may also cause dehydration as fluid leaks from the burned area.

Signs of dehydration – In young children, dehydration symptoms include crying with no tears, no wet diapers, dry mouth and skin, and rapid breathing. In adults, symptoms include reduced urine output or dark colored urine, headache, loss of appetite, and dizziness.

How to protect yourself

·       Drink plenty of water; by the time you feel thirst, dehydration has already begun

·       Avoid overconsumption of beverages that cause dehydration, such as alcohol and caffeinated drinks

·       Practice sun safety: limit exposure during the heat of the day (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM), dress appropriately for the weather, hydrate before heading outside

·       Eat foods with high water content

·       Monitor yourself for signs of dehydration