Signs and Symptoms of Winter Dehydration
Dehydration is often seen as an issue that comes up during the hotter months of the year. It's when you're exerting yourself physically on a hot day that you become dehydrated most often, isn't it? The thing is, dehydration can occur at any time of the year no matter what the temperature might be. This means that you could suffer from dehydration during the winter as well. In fact, dehydration may be even more dangerous during the winter.
Why is Dehydration More Dangerous During the Winter?
When you become dehydrated during the summer, it's often much easier to tell. Simply sweating tells a lot of people that they need to hydrate. During the winter, sweat will evaporate much faster, which means that people often don't remember to hydrate. Then there's the fact that cold weather causes your blood vessels to constrict, which in turn results in blood being sent to your body's core. This process ends up tricking your body into thinking that you are hydrated even if you're not. Last but not least, dry air can cause dehydration as well. When it's particularly cold and dry out, you may see your breath as you exhale. What's actually happening is that you are losing water vapor with your breath.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Dehydration?
Seeing as how it can be difficult to know whether you're dehydrated during the winter months, it's important to keep an eye on possible signs and symptoms of dehydration. The following are signs and symptoms that you are dehydrated:
- You are thirsty.
- Your mouth is dry and sticky.
- You are not urinating as frequently as normal.
- You are suffering from dizziness or light-headedness.
- You are constipated.
- You are sleepier or more tired than usual.
- Your urine is thick and dark. If you are properly hydrated, then your urine should be clear.
- Your skin is dry.
- You have a headache.
These are all signs that you need to hydrate. There are also more severe symptoms that are associated with severe dehydration, which is a medical emergency. These symptoms include:
- Extreme thirst
- Extreme irritability and confusion
- Extremely dry mouth and skin
- Sunken eyes
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
How to Treat Dehydration During the Winter
Anyone that exhibits symptoms of severe dehydration should be taken to the emergency room. However, milder symptoms can easily be treated. The following are a few ways to treat mild dehydration:
- Drink water - The best way to treat dehydration is to re-hydrate using water. Make sure not to drink too quickly. In addition to drinking water, you can also drink decaffeinated teas, juices, sports drinks that contain electrolytes.
- Avoid certain fluids - Avoid drinking alcohol, soda, liquids that contain caffeine (which will only dehydrate you more) and sugar (which causes you to urinate more).
- Keep hydrating - If you've become dehydrated, you'll need to re-hydrate for the next 24 hours by drinking plenty of fluids - it can take a few days to replace all the lost fluids.
- Eat certain foods - Some foods have high water content. Fruits such as watermelon, oranges, grapefruit and cantaloupe have high water content. Vegetables such as lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, celery and zucchini all have high water content as well.
To avoid becoming dehydrated during the winter, make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids even if you don't think that you are thirsty. Men should drink around 13 cups of water a day, while women should drink around 9 cups a day. And, of course, keep an eye on possible dehydration symptoms, especially during the winter months.