Summer is officially here, which means children, adults, and pets are all spending more time outdoors. The warmer temperatures and extra outdoor activities make the perfect storm for dehydration. Dehydration can cause symptoms so severe that you require hospitalization to recover, so prevention is the best medicine! Follow these simple tips to help avoid dehydration during your summer fun.

Drink Water

This may seem obvious, but the best way to avoid dehydration is by drinking water. Sports drinks, soda, and juices all contain excess sugar and calories that won’t help to hydrate you. Stick with regular water and drink it throughout the day, not just when you’re thirsty. The more you’re sweating, the more water you’ll need to take in. You should begin drinking water before you step outside. Starting the day well, hydrated will lower the risk of dehydration later on. Avoid caffeinated drinks that will act as a diuretic if you know you’ll be spending time outdoors then that day.

Know the Signs of Dehydration

The sooner you can catch dehydration, the better your chances are of a quick recovery. Be on the lookout for signs of dehydration including:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Lack of sweat
  • Headache
  • Swollen hands and feet

Another secure sign to watch for is dark colored urine. If you’re well hydrated, your urine will be a pale yellow color. If you’re not urinating or seeing very dark urine when you do, it’s time to drink more water!

Don’t Overdo It

Our last tip to avoid dehydration is to know your limits. Listen to your body when you’re outdoors, and if you begin to feel like it’s time for a break, it probably is. Even the most experienced athletes can become overheated and need some time to sit back and cool down. Remember not to chug water if you reach this point. Instead, try to take small sips overtime. Taking in too much water at once when you’re overheated will cause you to vomit, worsening the dehydration. Utilize shade and air conditioning to help your body cool down faster. If you notice you’ve stopped sweating completely, your dehydration has reached a level that probably means it’s time to quit for the day.
If you think you’re becoming dehydrated, monitor your symptoms. If you notice your symptoms are becoming worse, seek medical attention right away. Remind your friends and family to drink water when they’re outside too! Remember, it’s easier to stay hydrated than it is to recover after becoming dehydrated.