In order to function properly, humans need to drink water. In fact, over 50% of the human body is composed of water.
As temperatures rise, it is important to stay hydrated. Drinking water can cool you down, keep bowel movements consistent and help your skin look smooth and soft.
When you’re having fun in the sun and are spending hours outdoors, it’s easy to forget to drink water. But if you are not hydrating enough, you could become dehydrated.
Here is what to know about dehydration, including its symptoms.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration occurs when your body does not have the sufficient amount of fluids (primarily water) it needs to function. In short, you are losing or using more fluids than you are taking in.
The human body loses fluids in many ways, such as sweating, breathing, urination and defecation, as well as through tears and saliva. In general, you become dehydrated when you are not actively and adequately replacing the lost fluids.
You can become dehydrated as a result of other health conditions, such as diarrhea, vomiting or excessive sweating.
Anyone can become dehydrated but those at higher risk are infants, children and older people. Dehydration can also be worsened by pre-existing conditions if they lead to loss of fluids, such as diabetes causing frequent urination.
Infants cannot and children often do not communicate when they are thirsty, making them more prone to dehydration. The same goes for older people, especially those who have cognitive issues.
Can dehydration cause fever?
No, dehydration does not cause fever, according to the Cleveland Clinic. However, having a fever can cause dehydration.
Many diseases or disorders that cause fever can lead to dehydration. The higher your fever, the more dehydrated you may become, according to the Mayo Clinic.
When your body temperature increases so does your breath rate and metabolism, causing you to release more fluids.
Dehydration symptoms vary depending on someone’s age, according to the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic.
In adults, dehydration symptoms can include:
- Extreme thirst
- Less frequent urination
- Dark-colored urine
- Red (flushed) skin
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle cramps
- Confusion, headache
In infants or children, dehydration symptoms can include:
- Dry tongue, mouth and lips
- No tears when crying
- Sunken eyes, cheeks
- Sunken soft spot on top of infant’s head
- Less frequent urination
- Dry skin
If you or someone experiences any of the symptoms for a prolonged period, seek medical attention.
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