Thirsty? You’re already dehydrated
Signs of dehydration include:
- Excessive sweating
- Decreased urine output or darkly colored urine
When these symptoms are present, it’s time to take a rest in the shade or indoors and rehydrate with water. Sulapas recommends people doing labor intensive activities, like running or heavy yard work, drink a beverage with electrolytes to replenish the sodium that is lost through sweating.
If a person collapses or experiences a change in mental status, such as not making sense, call 9-1-1.
Eating a well-balanced meal also is important for hydration, Sulapas said. “Food intake can also be counted as hydration, because it includes carbohydrates and sodium that you need to maintain hydration.”
In addition, anyone who is a going to be outside for a prolonged period or for an intense activity should avoid excessive caffeine intake. A little bit of coffee is fine for those who are used to it, but sodas actually increase thirst. Alcohol, which acts a diuretic and leads to dehydration, also should be avoided.
Dehydration can affect people of all ages and all fitness levels, Sulapas warned.
Get more hydration tips from a registered dietitian at Baylor College of Medicine.