Summertime can be the busiest time of the year. Not only are you getting all your projects done, but you’re also squeezing in all the fun you can. This extra running, combined with our excessive Texas heat, can result in dehydration if you’re not careful with your water intake. Left unchecked, dehydration can quickly become serious.
Dehydration is the lack of sufficient water for your body’s needs. Symptoms can begin with even as little as 1.5% fluid loss.1
When the body is low on water, several adverse things begin to happen.
- Your heart must work harder to pump blood2
- Your muscles don’t move efficiently
- Your feet and hands may swell as your body retains fluid
- You start to feel really sick: dizzy, headache, dry mouth, pounding heart, shaky
Dehydration can be caused by not getting enough water and by exercising, drinking alcohol, taking certain medications, unrelenting hot weather, or by being sick with vomiting or diarrhea.
But many of us are used to living with a certain level of dehydration and we tell ourselves it will be ok because we’ve pushed the envelope before. Here are 3 common myths that need to be debunked when it comes to protecting yourself from the adverse effects of dehydration.
Myth #1 – Drink when you’re thirsty and you’ll be fine
“Waiting to drink water when you are thirsty is not the best plan of action against dehydration,” said Medco ER’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “Your body will already be struggling to get back to a comfortable hydration point, especially if countering the effects of hot weather or exercise. Also, as you age, your thirst indicator becomes less noticeable and, thus, less reliable.”
Pro Tip: Drink before you notice thirst and keep up the water intake throughout the day.
Myth #2 – Drinking a lot of water quickly will take care of it
Drinking excessive amounts of water at one time is not the best way to remain hydrated all day. Your body will rapidly purge more and retain less, leaving you still dehydrated as you keep working or the heat remains an issue.
Pro Tip: Drink small amounts of water throughout the day to make sure you are getting plenty.
Myth #3 – Dehydration is unpleasant but not dangerous
“Dehydration can quickly become dangerous and even deadly,” said Dr. Khan. “We treat patients all the time with IVs and electrolyte intervention to try to restore them to health. It’s not something to take lightly.”
Additionally, it can contribute to an imbalance of electrolytes—or hypernatremia—which can make you very sick. Another complication that is made worse by dehydration is low fluid levels in the cells of the body, or hypovolemia. Over time, liver and kidney damage can occur. Most of these complications can be alleviated with proper hydration habits.
Pro Tip: Help educate those around you and establish good hydration habits in their lives.
Symptoms of Dehydration3
- Dark-colored urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Less frequent urination
- Muscle cramps
- Lightheadedness, dizziness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Fever, chills
- Drowsiness, fatigue
- Thirsty, dry mouth
- Weakness, shaking
Get Help Fast at Medco ER
Babies, children, and seniors are among the highest risk group for dehydration. If you or someone you love is suffering from dehydration, come in right away to the nearest Medco ER, open all day and night. You will be met by a board-certified physician who is experienced in treating mild to severe dehydration.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-747-0370
- Carrollton: 2745 E Belt Line Road, Carrollton, TX 75006
Call us @ 469-840-4600