The summer heat is unforgiving, even more so if you find yourself in the outdoors with little water or no access to it at all. During these times, your chances of suffering from dehydration increase, and if you do find yourself or someone else suffering from it, you’ll experience a variety of symptoms:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth and swollen tongue
- Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
- Sluggishness fainting
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Inability to sweat
- Decreased urine output
You can also tell if you’re suffering from dehydration by checking your urine; if urine is concentrated and deeply yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated.
Treating someone with mild dehydration isn’t too difficult, but it’s very important to do it correctly. Make the person lie down in a cool place, away from the sun. Have them sip — not gulp — cool — not cold — 2 quarts of fluid, such as water, juice, or sports drinks (clear fluids are best) every few minutes for at least 30 minutes or until they are feeling better. Unless the situation is absolutely dire, make sure they relax for at least an hour to give them enough time to recover. As soon as the person is feeling better, they can move.
It’s important to note that the person should drink at least 10 glasses of liquid a day to replace lost fluids. Also, if the person is elderly, fluid replacement may need to be done slowly. If the person is vomiting, you’ll want to cool them down with ice chips, popsicles, and small sips of fluid. If the person is recovering from diarrhea, consider that some sports drinks contain a lot of sugar, which can worsen diarrhea.