The hustle and bustle of the holidays will soon be ending. No more running to the store to battle the crowd to buy the last-minute gift you forgot for your grandma. No, now we must battle the customer service line to return the sweater with three adorable cats cuddling in a bed of flowers that your sweet, 90-year-old, Grandma decided would look great on you.
As we are running around making our returns, planning our next ski trip up the mountains, and are sleeping with our heated blankets, it is important that we remember to gauge our water intake, so that we are not becoming dehydrated.
Winter in Idaho often means heavy jackets, long underwear, scarves, and other pieces of warm clothing to help conserve body heat. All that added weight makes our body work harder, producing sweat. Those electric blankets that we love so much can cause your body to overheat as you sleep and your skin to dry out causing dilated blood vessels. In addition, all of this can make our bodies produce more sweat contributing to fluid loss.
In cold weather, we lose more fluids through respiratory water loss than on warm days. When you can see your breath in the cold air, that’s actually water vapor that your body is losing. Dehydration is not something to take lightly and can become serious and need intervention. But what is dehydration, and what symptoms do we need to be paying attention to?
Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body does not have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you do not replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated. Anyone may become dehydrated, but the condition is especially dangerous for young children and older adults.
Signs of dehydration in an infant or young child would be, dry mouth and tongue, no tears when crying, no wet diapers for three hours, sunken eyes and cheeks, the sunken soft spot on top of the skull, listlessness, or irritability.
Signs of dehydration in an adult would be extreme thirst, less frequent urination, dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion.
Symptoms where you need to call your provider are, diarrhea for twenty-four hours or more, irritable or disoriented, much sleepier or less active than usual, cannot keep fluids down, and has a bloody or black stool.
How much water should we be drinking on a daily basis? Well, according to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an adequate daily fluid intake is:
• About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
• About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages, and food. About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.
Let us save ourselves the misery and just remember to grab a water bottle. Instead of a trip to your provider, take that trip up to the mountains and enjoy skiing for the day, or face the return line for that sweater your grandma gave you instead of battling dehydration.
To schedule an appointment call us at 208-906-1231 for more information or visit www.MorganFamilyPractice.com.