Urology Specialist of the Carolinas Top signs of and tips to avoid dehydration

The Weatherman is calling for 80-90 degree days and a lot of sunshine, which can only mean one thing–summer is officially underway here in the Carolinas.

*Que the backyard BBQs, weekend beach trips, days on the boat, and cases of mild to severe dehydration!

That’s right, while the summer is a time for fun in the sun, the hot and often humid conditions we Carolinians experience May-September can be dangerous to our health and our hydration.  

It is not our intent to scare you out of enjoying your summer, but it is important that you’re able to identify the signs of dehydration and know what steps to take in order to rehydrate/maintain healthy levels of hydration.

Signs Your Body is Dehydrated

Our bodies rely on water to function properly, but they aren’t always good at telling us when they aren’t getting enough. Look for these signs that your body needs more water.

  1. Dry skin
  2. Muscle cramps
  3. Fever and chills
  4. Food cravings (especially for sweet or salty foods)
  5. Headaches
  6. Fatigue and or sleepiness
  7. Dry mouth/bad breath
  8. Decreased urine output and/or darker colored urine

One way to check whether your body is dehydrated is to check your urine.

If you are well hydrated, your urine will be mostly clear. If you are dehydrated, your urine will be a dark yellow or orange color.

This urine color guide can give you an idea of your body’s hydration level and what your next steps should be.

urine color guide

Urology specialist of the Carolinas urine color guide

If you find that you have dark yellow or orange colored urine, it is crucial that you take the following steps to rehydrate your body.

Keep Your Body Hydrated (Even Through The Summer)

Doctors typically recommended consuming between 2000 ml and 3000 ml of water a day, that’s eight, 8 oz. glasses.

But with that said, if you work out, are ill, taking medicines that require you to drink more water, live in a warm climate area, etc., the amount of water your body needs increases.

A survey of 3,003 Americans found that 75% of them were chronically dehydrated and experiencing a net fluid loss–not because they were not consuming their eight, 8 oz. water glasses, but because they were offsetting their hydration efforts with caffeine, alcohol, and a high sodium diet.

Use these five tips to stay rehydrate or to maintain hydration:

  1. Keep a water bottle on you at all times: You’re more likely to drink water if it’s right next to you. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself sipping without even realizing it.
  2. Add natural flavor to your water: If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding fresh fruits. Slices of lemons and cucumbers, along with a few mint leaves make for a great tasting water-based drink you’ll want more of.
  3. Snack on fruits and veggies: Swap dry snacks like chips, pretzels, and crackers for water-based fruits and veggies. Celery and peanut butter or veggies and hummus are a couple of good options.
  4. Drink the day before a workout: Hydrating for a workout should happen the day before, not the day of. Keep this in mind if you have kids. Be sure they hydrate the day before going to the beach or a soccer game.
  5. Opt for water: Avoid sodas and sugary drinks at all costs. These liquids will not help to hydrate you and in some cases, they’ll work against your hydration efforts.

Dehydration is common during the summer months, but when you’re aware of the signs and take proactive steps to stay hydrated, you can avoid the negative effects associated with the condition.

We discuss in depth the importance of hydration and the health benefits associated with it in our Nutrition and Lifestyle Guide. Download your free copy and put yourself one step closer to a long, happy, and healthy life.