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Sweaty woman who is exercising outdoors in summer guzzles water to avoid dehydration

PREVENT

Sweat the small stuff: Avoid dehydration this summer

  • Sweating is your body’s way to cool down.
  • Dehydration happens when you can’t sweat enough to cool your body, and your body temp rises to dangerous levels.
  • More than 600 people in the U.S. are killed by extreme heat every year, according to the CDC.

Summer, outdoor activities and sports go hand in hand. Just be careful that dehydration doesn’t sneak up on you while you’re busy having fun. Learn more about what you can do to prevent, spot and quickly treat dehydration.

Why dehydration is dangerous

Sweating is your body’s way to cool down. Dehydration happens when you can’t sweat enough to cool your body and your body temperature rises to dangerously high levels, causing heat stroke. If not treated quickly, it can lead to heat stroke and other serious medical conditions.

Signs of dehydration

The most common signs of dehydration include thirst, skin that is cool to the touch and mental confusion. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical attention. Watch for these and other early symptoms dehydration:

  • chills
  • decreased urination or urine that is a dark color
  • dry lips and mouth
  • excessive sweating
  • fatigue, lethargy, weakness
  • fast heart rate
  • irritability and restlessness
  • muscle cramps
  • thick saliva

Don't sweat it: Tips to spot symptoms of dehydration in kids

How to prevent dehydration 

On extremely hot days, if it’s possible, play sports or spend time outside in the morning and evening when it's cooler. Keep yourself well-hydrated during vigorous sports and activities by:

  • Drinking about 12 to 20 ounces of water before beginning outdoor activities
  • Taking a break every 15 minutes to drink about 8 ounces of water or sports drinks such as Gatorade®. Avoid:
    • energy drinks and sodas with caffeine as they can increase dehydration
    • drinks with added sugars
    • alcohol.
  • Wearing light-colored clothing and fabrics that provide moisture wicking and airflow.

Treatment for dehydration

Some medicines such as diuretics, some diabetes medicines and others, can lead to dehydration if you don’t drink enough water with them. Check with your health care provider to see if you are at risk of dehydration due to the medicines you take. 

If you are severely dehydrated, seek medical care immediately at an urgent care or emergency department as you may need intravenous fluids. Dehydration is treated by replacing fluid in the body. In extreme cases you may need IV fluids. 

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Get treated quickly at a walk-in clinic or urgent care

    Get care now

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