Often times when we think about dehydration we associate it with hot summer days and not drinking enough water. Many people believe that you can’t get dehydrated in the winter. What they don’t know is, that even though it is the winter months, you can still become dehydrated.
What you Need to Know about Winter Dehydration
When your body doesn’t have enough fluids to function properly is when dehydration sets in. On average, each adult should be drinking around 100 ounces of water a day. Staying hydrated in the summer may easier because it’s hot outside and you feel the need to drink more water. Whereas, if it is cold outside, you tend to not feel as thirsty as you do when it’s hot.
Not feeling thirsty doesn’t mean you are hydrated and don’t need water. During the winter we sweat a lot less, but our bodies still lose moisture we just don’t realize. Our bodies lose moisture through respiration, perspiration and bodily functions. Temperature only affects the rate at how fast we lose moisture.
Symptoms of dehydration
Here are the symptoms of mild or moderate dehydration:
- Feeling thirsty
- Dry mouth
- Not using the restroom often
- Dark yellow urine
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramping
Severe Dehydration symptoms include:
- Not using the restroom along with very dark yellow urine
- Severe dry skin
- Feeling dizzy
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Eyes are sunken in
- Fatigue, confusion
If you believe you are experiencing severe dehydration, it is considered a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
People who are more at risk
Anyone can become dehydrated but the odds may be a little higher for some people.
- Babies and small children: they experience symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting and they lose a lot of moisture from a high fever.
- Older Adults: often times older adults don’t realize they are even thirsty. Especially if they have a harder time maneuvering around the house it may be harder for them to get a drink. If they have medical conditions it may be hard to take in fluids.
- People who are sick: if you have a cold or sore throat you may not want to eat or drink. It is especially important to eat and drink while you are sick because you are losing more fluids.
- People with chronic diseases: living with type 2 diabetes may urinate more often if the disease is uncontrolled. If the disease is controlled, they make be taking water pills that make them urinate more frequently.
- People who are active outside: if it is hotter outside sometimes people are unable to cool down effectively because their sweat won’t evaporate.
Again, everyone can become dehydrated. People with certain circumstances may be more at risk for being dehydrated.
Tips for Staying Hydrated in Colder Weather
- Set reminders to drink more water. In colder weather sometimes we don’t feel as thirsty and may need to be reminded to drink.
- Eat your fruits and vegetables. Water can also come from some of the foods we eat. Fruits and vegetables are healthy and they keep you hydrated.
- If drinking water is difficult in the winter, try drinks like decaffeinated hot tea or hot cider.
- Carry around a reusable bottle and make it a goal to drink a certain amount each day.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
Recognizing the signs of dehydration can help you stay hydrated in the cold months. It sounds silly, but being dehydrated in cold weather can definitely happen to you. You are able to prevent dehydration by bringing water with you everywhere you go. If it’s in your hands you’re more likely to want to drink it right?
Treatment at Las Vegas Urgent Care
Moderate and severe dehydration or dehydration caused by alcohol needs to be treated in an emergency room. Schedule an appointment online with Las Vegas Urgent Care and we will help you get you back on your feet in time to celebrate the holidays!