Adults lose 10 cups of water daily through normal activities, and heat, exertion, or illness can increase that amount. Pay attention to the thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, and tiredness that dehydration can cause—before a little problem becomes a dangerous
: Call 911 if a victim appears to be suffering from severe dehydration, which includes symptoms like extreme thirst, a very dry mouth and other membranes, a change in personality, a lack of sweating, and infrequency or cessation of urination.
Step 1: Drink cool water Drink cool water. No matter the cause of your dehydration, this is the most important way to replenish fluids in your body.
Step 2: If caused by heat ... If the dehydration is caused by heat, move to an air-conditioned place or seek out shade to decrease the amount of sweat you’re producing.
Step 3: If caused by illness ... If the dehydration is caused by illness, try to drink frequent small sips of water or a sports drink to continually replace what you’re losing. Avoid any liquid that might upset your stomach, like juice or milk.
TIP: If vomiting makes it difficult to hold down liquid, suck on ice chips or ice made from sports drinks.
Step 4: If caused by exertion ... If the dehydration is caused by exertion, have a sports drink while you exercise. These drinks contain electrolytes, essential minerals that help maintain the balance of fluid in the body.
TIP: It is possible to drink too much water, replacing lost fluids without replacing lost electrolytes. This imbalance is called hyponatremia and can be life-threatening.
Step 5: Avoid dehydrating liquids Avoid liquids that temporarily exacerbate dehydration, like alcohol, coffee, and tea.
Step 6: Continue hydrating Continue hydrating in the hours or even days after your illness or exertion. The body can only absorb 24 to 32 ounces of water per hour, so it’s possible to lose more than you can quickly replace.
Step 7: Drink plenty of water on a daily basis Prevent future dehydration by drinking plenty of water on a daily basis and an extra a cup or two before exercising or going into extreme heat.
FACT: The best way to gauge your hydration level is by the color of your urine--it should be light yellow or nearly clear.