We're all aware of the obvious signs of dehydration—yellow pee, feeling thirsty, and dry mouth—but what about the less obvious ones, like acting strange? Experts say they're equally important, if not more so because they can be a sign that your dehydration has progressed beyond normal levels like when you exercise vigorously without drinking enough water.
"Our bodies need water and other fluids to function properly, and if you become dehydrated, some of these processes may not function normally," women's health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D., tells SELF. "Severe dehydration can have dire consequences." Those consequences can include heat stroke or exhaustion, seizures, and even death in the most extreme cases, according to Mayo Clinic.
But drinking enough water is harder than it sounds, especially during the summer. "It's challenging to stay hydrated, even when you're healthy," Sanford Vieder, D.O., medical director of Lakes Urgent Care in West Bloomfield and Livonia, Michigan, tells SELF. "The vast majority of us don't drink as much water as we should." For women, that means drinking around 9 cups of fluids every day, according to Mayo Clinic (mostly water is best, but that recommendation includes all fluids). And, if you're sweating a lot, you'll probably need more.
So, what are those less obvious signs of dehydration? Experts break them down:
Same goes if people say you're not acting like yourself, you feel like you're going to faint, or you actually have fainted. In those cases, Brutico recommends drinking liquid and heading to the ER to get evaluated. You may have reached a point where you need IV fluids to get rehydrated.
Even if you're only experiencing the less severe symptoms of dehydration, it's time to get some liquids in you ASAP. Vieder recommends having room-temperature liquids (your body takes longer to absorb cold fluids) and aiming to drink water or a sports drink with electrolytes. And take a pass on soda—Vieder says it can potentially further dehydrate you. Need some help meeting your daily hydration goals? Here are 12 easy ways to drink more water.
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