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Am I at Risk for Dehydration?

As we move outdoors to do spring and summer activities when the weather warms, dehydration can become an issue.

Dehydration can occur when your body’s fluid losses exceed the amount of fluid you take in. If your fluid stores aren’t replenished, your body will not have adequate amounts of water to carry out its day-to-day functions. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of dehydration is paramount to avoid severe dehydration.

What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?

  • Feelings of thirst
  • Dark, strong-smelling urine
  • Infrequent urination (less than four times per day)
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Fainting spells
  • Dry, chapped lips

How much water do you need?

  • Most individuals need about 8 cups (2 liters) of water per day. This value may vary due to lifestyle factors.

Are you at a greater risk of becoming dehydrated?

  • Vomiting/diarrhea - this is the most common cause of dehydration among children
  • Diabetes
  • Heatstroke
  • Excessive sweating due to exercise
  • Taking prescription diuretics

How can you stay hydrated?

  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you: Sip on water throughout the day. You’ll feel great about doing something good for your health and the environment.
  • Replenish fluids after physical activity.
  • Eat your fruits and vegetables. You can meet your daily water requirements by consuming foods with a high water content, such as strawberries, oranges, celery, broccoli and cucumber, to name a few.
  • Don’t want to just drink water? No sweat! Try consuming decaffeinated drinks such as herbal tea, hot cider, sparkling water or low-sugar/sugar-free beverages.
  • Avoid overconsumption of alcohol and caffeinated drinks because they are natural diuretics that can contribute to dehydration. Many sources recommend up to 400 milligrams of caffeine (about 4 cups of coffee) per day.

Can sports drinks help you stay hydrated?

  • If you have been exercising heavily for an hour or more, you may benefit from the carbohydrates and electrolytes found in sports drinks. If you are not participating in heavy exercise for prolonged periods of time, try rehydrating with 8 ounces of water for every 30 minutes of exercise instead of a sports beverage.

By Alliana Houfek, NDSU Extension Dietetic Intern
Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

Filed under: fca newsletter, fca news

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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