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Drink Up! Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration is no joke. According to a report done by the Arrowhead Medical Center, most heat illnesses are caused by dehydration. About 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. It has been reported to occur in 17% to 28% of older adults in the United States. Aside from having water every day for overall health, the consequences of ignoring the body’s need to replenish are immense.

To start off, what classifies as dehydration? How does one know they are dehydrated? Dehydration happens when the body doesn't have as much water as it needs to function properly. Water is lost from the skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and kidneys. The body loses more water than usual with:

  • A fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Urinating excessively (Diabetes and some medications, like water pills - also called diuretics, can make you pee more often.)
  • Long exposure to heat (ie: Working outside)

Water plays a key role in maintaining multiple physiological functions within the body. If more water is lost than gained or if the body doesn't drink and eat enough, dehydration is inevitable. Signs of a dehydrated body may include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Not urinating as much
  • Dark, yellow urine
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Headache and muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion or irritability
  • Fainting

It's more important for workers to be encouraged to drink at least one cup (8 ounces) of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat, not just if they feel thirsty. Sports drinks are a good alternative but it's imperative to avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and sodas. They increase urine output and make you become dehydrated. Ritz Safety can liven up hydration with Gatorade and Sqwincher products. From personal mixes and pre-made sports drinks to liquid and powder concentrates, hydration will never be viewed as just a necessity. Ritz Safety is here to promote hydration and a healthy lifestyle for your employees!

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