How to Get Hydrated

Two Methods:Trying At-Home MethodsSeeking Medical Treatment

Dehydration can occur not only as a result of not drinking enough water, but also as a side-effect of illnesses such as heat stroke, diarrhea, and vomiting.[1] Symptoms of dehydration may include thirst, lightheadedness, dizziness, confusion, infrequent and dark urination, dry mouth, dry skin, fatigue, and, in more severe cases, increased heart rate and breathing.[2] Whether you are severely dehydrated from an illness, or simply seeking to add greater hydration into your life as a measure of health, with the right strategy you will be able to achieve your goal.

Method 1
Trying At-Home Methods

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    Drink more water.[3] Many people do not consume the daily recommended water intake each day. Anywhere between eight to 15 cups of water per day is recommended, depending upon your activity level and other factors such as your body weight and exposure to the sun or warm temperatures. Aim to consume at least eight cups of water each day.
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    Drink smaller amounts more frequently. If drinking enough water is a challenge for you, spreading it out throughout the day can make it easier for your system to handle. Carry a water bottle with you during your work day, or have a glass of water beside you when you are relaxing at home. If you keep it in close proximity, you will be more likely to sip on it throughout the day. Before you know it, you will be on your way to reaching your hydration goals!
    • Note that even when you don't feel thirsty, it is important to keep your fluids up.
    • If you have ever felt irritable after walking around the city a lot without having a drink for a few hours, it's quite possible that your irritation stems from basic dehydration.
    • Also, just because it is cold does not mean that you don't need additional fluids – exertion, fierce weather, dryness, etc., can all contribute to becoming dehydrated.
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    Compensate for fluid loss after working out. Many people underestimate the amount of fluid lost in sweat when they go to the gym or do another form of exercise. It is recommended to drink 1 to 3 cups of water prior to beginning your exercise routine, and to carry a water bottle with you as you work out. You can substitute water with a sports drink to replenish your electrolytes (your salt balance) as well, as you also lose salt when you sweat (and many sports drinks contain calories that will fuel you to perform better in a tough workout).
    • For endurance sports, an electrolyte beverage is key as salt is vital to your body's ability to absorb water.[4]
    • For shorter workouts, regular water should suffice.
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    Monitor how much time you are spending in the sun. The more time you spend in hot weather, the greater your body's needs for fluid replenishment will be.[5] To stay hydrated in the hot weather, carry fluids with you. If at all possible, schedule your outdoor activities for the early mornings or the late afternoons when the sun is less strong, as this will decrease your rate of dehydration.
    • If you work out outdoors and also live in a place with a hot climate, you may choose to do workouts at times of the day when it is cooler out. This will make it easier for you to maintain adequate hydration without having to consume huge volumes of fluid.
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    Avoid sodas, caffeinated beverages, and/or alcohol for hydration purposes. If you are trying to increase your hydration, sodas such as ginger ale are an ineffective choice, contrary to popular belief. This is because they contain too much sugar and too little salt, diminishing the effectiveness of water absorption.[6]
    • Caffeinated beverages are also a poor choice as they have diuretic properties, meaning that they actually stimulate water loss from the body rather than water gain. Although a cup of coffee or tea in the morning shouldn't cause you too much trouble, avoid drinking these beverages in excess while you are trying to improve your hydration.
    • Also avoid consuming too much alcohol as this has a dehydrating effect.
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    Check your urine as a sign of your hydration status.[7] Dark-colored urine (a dark yellow), particularly if accompanied by infrequent urination, is a sign of dehydration. On the other hand, frequent light-colored urine is a sign that your body is well-hydrated. Don't be afraid to check in the toilet as it is actually one of the more effective ways to evaluate your body's hydration status.

Method 2
Seeking Medical Treatment

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    Recognize signs of severe dehydration. If you are experiencing lightheadedness, dizziness, confusion, or altered vital signs (such as a fast heart rate and an increased respiratory rate), you may have a more severe form of dehydration that warrants professional medical attention. The most common causes of severe dehydration are heat stroke (from spending too much time in the sun), extreme endurance sports, and illnesses that involve diarrhea and/or vomiting.
    • If you believe you may have any of these medical conditions, or if you are worried that you may have severe dehydration, it is best to see a doctor sooner rather than later for treatment.[8]
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    Get IV fluids. IV (intravenous) fluids are the fastest and most efficient way to replace fluids if you are suffering from severe dehydration. This is because the fluid is injected straight into your vein, rather than having to go the long route of being absorbed by your digestive system. IV fluids are also tailored to your specific needs with the perfect balance of fluid, salt, and calories to optimize your body's hydration and overall health.[9]
    • If you have an illness such as diarrhea and/or vomiting, you may not be able to consume fluids orally (due to nausea and/or vomiting, or diarrhea which prevents absorption). Therefore, IV fluids may be your only option in severe cases.
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    Get a diagnosis for the underlying cause of your dehydration. It is important to understand that severe cases of dehydration require not only fluids for treatment, but also diagnosing and resolving the underlying cause of the dehydration - a job best accomplished by an experienced physician. If you try to rehydrate yourself without first identifying the cause of the problem, it is unlikely to lead to a long-term or permanent solution. Therefore, if in doubt it is best to see a doctor who can guide you through the steps to getting properly hydrated and in good health once again.[10]
    • The specific diagnosis underlying dehydration also affects the treatment course, in many cases. This is another reason why identifying the underlying cause is key.

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Categories: Diet & Lifestyle