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Your Healthy Family: Dangers of dehydration

Posted at 7:10 AM, Jul 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-10 07:10:21-04

There have been multiple heat advisories in Southwest Florida this summer, and being outside in that weather can make you sweat a lot. That's why people need to know the signs of dehydration.

If you’re having trouble concentrating or feeling fatigued, you may be dehydrated.

“Some of the signs and symptoms can include headache, muscle aches, muscle cramps, some nausea, maybe even dizziness and light-headedness," Dr. Tom Waters, an Emergency Medicine Physician with Cleveland Clinic, said.

He said dehydration happens when the body loses more fluid than it takes in. Of course, it's important to hydrate before heading out into the heat, but you also should avoid caffeine and alcohol.

When working outside on a hot day, you should drink at least eight ounces of water every 15-20 minutes. If you feel heat stress coming on, Dr. Waters said to take a break from what you’re doing. He said heat cramps and heat exhaustion can be treated at home with fluids, rest, and air conditioning. But if you stop sweating, it’s a sign you maybe severely dehydrated, and it becomes a medical emergency if you start to feel confused or disoriented.

“If one notices that they are starting to have any mental status changes or neurologic changes, that means you are moving into heat stroke. That is an acute life-threatening condition and that needs to be addressed in your local, closest emergency department," he said.

Dr. Waters said dehydration can progress to heat stroke, which can lead to organ failure, or even death. He said to make sure you are drinking water before, during and after activities in the heat.