Dehydration can cause several uncomfortable symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue and skin flushing. Severe dehydration can even cause organ failure and death. Read on to learn how to avoid dehydration in dry weather.
Most of the time, we drink when we’re thirsty, and that’s enough to keep us hydrated. But once in a while, dehydration can catch up to you unexpectedly.
This usually happens when you’re working out harder than you realize, or when the weather is hot, because you can loose more fluids than you realize under those conditions.
It also happens during the winter time, if you spend most of your time in buildings with central heating systems, which take humidity out of the air.
Children and the elderly are at the highest risk for getting dehydrated. Kids often get so caught up in playing that they forget to drink. Here are some tips for keeping yourself and those you love hydrated.
How to Avoid Dehydration
1. Drink lots of water, or at least non-caffeinated “clear” liquids. Water is ideal, but hot herbal teas, flavored water and even caffeine-free clear colas can count toward your daily intake.
2. When it’s dry in your home, use a humidifier or keep some water boiling in a pot or tea kettle on the stove to keep your home at normal humidity levels.
3. For a quick fix when your sinuses or throat are feeling dry: soak a washcloth under hot water from the tap, wring it out, and put it over your face. Breathing through the damp washcloth will get steam into your nose and throat.
4. Make a “steam tent” by running the hottest possible water in the sink, leaning over it, and putting a large towel over your head and the edges of the sink to keep the steam in.
This is a time-honored technique for fighting coughs, colds, and congestion, but it works just as well to rehydrate your sinuses.
5. Breathe deeply while you’re in the shower or tub. All that steam can help to rehydrate your sinuses and your skin.
6. Keep saline products on hand, which are easy to carry with you. These include mists and gels that help moisturize your nasal passages and throat.
7. Make sure you’re getting enough salt with your water. Salt helps you retain water. You lose salt along with water when you sweat.
Salt isn’t as bad for you as we’ve all been told, unless you have high blood pressure. You need a certain amount of it each day. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor.
You may occasionally need to eat a little bit of salt in order to fight dehydration. Whenever I’m drinking plenty of water but still feeling like I can’t get enough, I pour a little bit (just a few sprinkles) of salt into my hand and eat it.
8. Avoid caffeinated beverages? The old advice was to avoid caffeine because it could cause your body to purge fluids. It turns out that diuretic effect doesn’t last very long, so drinking a cup of coffee will put more liquid into you than it takes out.
But caffeinated drinks are still not the most optimized way to get fluid into your system. Water is ideal.
9. Pedialyte can help little kids stay hydrated. There are adult versions of these drinks for anyone else who’s struggling, but the truth is, adults can use Pedialyte as well as kids. Any electrolyte drink should work for adults.