Dehydration can sneak up on you and impair your thinking to the point you may not realize you need to take immediate action. Rescuers have at times found lost hikers and others that have succumbed to dehydration with water still in their canteens. People think they should ration their water for when they need it and this can have serious consequences.

Once you begin to experience dehydration your mental acuity is affected. You will not be thinking straight, and you can make decisions detrimental to your survival. Trying to save water for later is a bad decision, but the amazing thing is the decision is usually made when the mind is clear.

Some people do believe, they need to ration their water in some situations, save it for when they need it, is the thinking. However, when your mind is fuzzy you cannot make any rational decisions, and some people have ended up dying with water within reach.

The human body is made up of approximately 60 percent water. Every part of the body depends on water. You need it for healthy skin, hair, and nails as well as to help control heart rate, blood pressure and most importantly control the body’s temperature (WebMD, n.d.).

So What Counts As Water?

Fruits and vegetables can help hydrate you. Watermelon for example, is 90 percent water, so it can be tapped to help keep you going as well as cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, cucumbers, celery, and greens such as romaine lettuce.

There is no substitute for just plain water however, and medical experts are finding that more and more people are fluid deficient, in other words, some are not drinking enough water in the course of a normal day, and this can spell disaster if you find yourself sweating heavily, and do not have an adequate supply of water.

Certain foods can help you stay hydrated, but no one should assume that the foods you eat would hydrate you enough to keep you healthy without adding water to your normal daily routine.

According to WebMD the myth that coffee and tea dehydrates you has been debunked. While both are considered a diuretic they can provide you with essential fluids, but again, you should offset coffee and tea consumption with water (WebMD, n.d.).

Everyone expels fluids throughout the day, fluids that have to be replaced. Headaches are common in people who are dehydrated as well as fatigue, foggy mind, and cranky mood and in the advanced stages you can become unconscious.

How much water a body needs everyday depends on certain factors, but most experts agree for the average adult two quarts/liters is required. Keep in mind teas, fruit drinks and other beverages can contain artificial ingredients as well as, sodium, and sugars and so will add calories to your diet.

The body can lose a gallon or even more of fluids a day in hot weather when sweating heavily. The amount of water you need is dependent upon your body size, overall health and your activity level. This is not an exact science, so drink water, whether you feel thirsty or not, and if the color of your urine is dark or you are not urinating at all then you are not getting enough water.

Dehydration will lower the sodium and sugar levels in the body and treating dehydration with plain water may not be the best treatment method for very young children and older adults. Always consult with a medical professional before treating anyone however. When you sweat you are losing fluids and essential minerals.

Water will dilute the already low mineral levels in the body. For young children, infants, and older adults dehydration is a real concern, and it will have a greater impact on these age groups. You can use an oral hydration formula along with water to help treat mild dehydration in some cases.

Certain sports drinks do contain electrolytes that are necessary for fluid retention and for the cells to function properly, and so can be used to help keep the body hydrated.

A squeeze or two of real lemon in your water can help those who simply do not like water straight from the tap. You can also bruise a few fresh mint leaves to add flavor to your water as well.

WebMD. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from

This content was originally published here.

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