In 2012, 155 people in the United States died from extreme heat-related illnesses. And although the number was down from the previous year, it’s still higher than the average from the last 10 years. So what does that mean? Unfortunately, some of us don’t realize when our body is telling us it’s too hot.
Not to worry: It’s easy to avoid extreme dehydration. Benjamin Yoo, M.D., and CEO of hydration beverage BANa, warns to look out for these common symptoms.
1. Headaches and dizziness
Neurological changes, including confusion and lethargy, are the first indication you’re suffering from dehydration. Don’t ignore them — it may lead to passing out or seizures.
2. Stomach pains
This includes nausea, cramps, and in really bad cases, vomiting.
3. Fever or changes in heart rate or blood pressure
Pay close attention to any changes in your regular body functions: If you’re feeling flush, you may have a fever. Body temperature spikes (102 or 103 degrees) and an increase in your heart rate (above 100) are strong signs of dehydration. Your blood pressure may also drop, and you may notice you’re breathing more rapidly, between 20 and 25 breaths per minute (normally we breathe 12 to 16).
How to prevent it:
Even if you’re feeling well, drink plenty of fluids and seek out shady spots when it’s hot or when you’re exercising. And wear loose or lightweight clothing to help keep your body cool if you’re going to be outdoors the whole day.
If you ever think you’re experiencing a symptom, immediately grab a sports drink or try water with added salt, suggests Yoo. “Salt helps retain fluids through the kidneys. It’s the most effective mechanism to get rehydrated,” he says. If you experience anything more severe (not peeing for 12 hours, vomiting or seizures), go straight to the emergency room