As the summer months progress, the heat can become stifling. For instance, this summer (2013) the heat wave that has hit Connecticut and the surrounding areas has been unlike anything from recent memories. Luckily, more people than ever have air conditioning, making it a bit easier to deal with these high temperatures. However, even those who are staying cool may find that it is easier to become dehydrated in the hot weather. The elderly have the worst of it—it is possible for an older person to lose too much hydration without even noticing it. That is why it is important to learn about the signs of dehydration, then follow these simple tips for keeping yourself or a loved one properly hydrated this summer.
Signs of Dehydration:
A number of signs show when dehydration is setting in—some of them are visible to an observer, while others may be hidden from sight. It is important not to ignore these signs as dehydration can lead to toxicity in the body, organ failure or even death. Keep an eye out for these symptoms, especially in the hot summer months.
- Confusion and Dizziness
- Drowsiness and Lethargy
- Labored Speech
- Sunken Eyes
- Pale Appearance
If you suspect severe dehydration, you want to contact a doctor or take the patient to a hospital immediately. If you catch it early enough, you may be able to treat it at home by providing plenty of water.
Instead of waiting until it is too late, you should take every possible precaution to prevent dehydration in your loved one. Drinking plenty of water is, of course, the best way to avoid dehydration. However, some people do not like water and it may be hard to convince your elderly friend or relative to drink enough. These tips can help ensure that he or she gets the water needed to stay healthy and safe—even in the hottest of temperatures.
Plan for Water Breaks
It can be hard to remember to drink water, especially when one does not particularly feel thirsty. Choose a couple of times a day for planned water breaks; this can prevent dehydration.
Make Water Fun
Regular water is a bit boring, but sparkling water or water with a squeeze of fruit can make it easier to drink. Just try to avoid empty calories by drinking soda or excessive amounts of juice.
Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables have high water content too. Eating plenty of these foods can help increase the daily intake of water.
Consider making ice pops out of flavored water, or water with fruit. This is another way to increase the water intake without downing endless glasses of water.
When you reduce your salt intake, your body processes the water you ingest more smoothly. Many dehydrated people simply have too much salt in their diet.
Talk to the Doctor
Those who take prescription medication may need additional water above and beyond the normal requirements. Certain prescription drugs can cause you to retain water—leading to dehydration.
As you can see, dehydration can be dangerous. However, preventing it is not that difficult. One final tip is to make certain your loved one drinks water often—even when he or she does not yet feel thirsty. When a person feels thirsty, they may already be experiencing the early signs of dehydration. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is the easiest way to stay hydrated, and therefore stay healthy, especially in the stifling summer heat.