As the days get longer and the sun gets hotter, we spend more time outdoors.  Whether at the beach (or “the shore” as it’s called here in Philly), in parks or in your own backyard, simply being outside is invigorating.  But it’s also exhausting and can cause dehydration if you’re not careful.

Many people, especially older individuals, live in a mildly dehydrated state and don’t even know it.  They don’t want to drink a lot of liquids because it makes them have to go to the bathroom more often. But older people aren’t the only ones who get dehydrated—children and adults of all ages are susceptible and it’s important to be aware of the symptoms so you can do something about it before it becomes a serious life-threatening situation.

Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue/Sleepiness
  • Dry, Sticky Mouth
  • Thirst
  • Dry Skin
  • Decreased Urine Output/Concentrated Urine
  • Decreased tear production
  • Dizziness/Lightheadedness
  • Constipation

If you have one of more of these symptoms, you may not even realize that dehydration is the culprit.  One of the easiest ways to determine if you’re dehydrated is by the color of your urine. Clear or light-colored urine usually means you are well hydrated.  If it’s dark yellow, that’s usually a sure sign to let you know you’re dehydrated and need to drink some fluids as soon as possible.

If you’re one of those people who just hate to drink water, try infusing it with lemon, lime or orange slices.  You can get more adventurous and try some cucumber or mint.  Experiment with seltzer, mineral water, sports drinks and other healthy alternatives to see what tastes good to you. 

Severe dehydration can be life-threatening.  Symptoms of severe dehydration include:

  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness (babies and children)
  • Irritability and confusion (adults)
  • Lack of sweating
  • Fever
  • Extreme thirst
  • Little or no urination
  • Very dry skin that doesn’t bounce back after being pinched
  • Very dry mouth and other mucous membranes
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • No tears
  • Low blood pressure
  • Delirium or unconsciousness

If you or your children experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor or go to a hospital immediately. 

Enjoy these beautiful hot summer days and stay healthy by drinking lots of delicious, cold drinks.  Please share your favorite summertime beverage with us!