Dehydration can have serious consequences – from lack of concentration and mental fog, to muscle aches, headaches, and even more severe confusion and unconsciousness! Being in a state of low grade dehydration for a long time can even affect your skin, causing it to dry out, crack and lose its elasticity.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to remedy these problems. Today we’re addressing your dehydration worries, by explaining you can tell you’re getting dehydrated and what to do about it!
Prevention is better than cure
The best thing you can do is try to make sure you don’t get dehydrated to begin with. Be aware of how much you drink every day, and if necessary, set yourself reminders to ensure you’re drinking as much as you need to.
It doesn’t have to be water – some find it too bad, or even bad tasting, but it’s not your only option for staying hydrated. While you should avoid fizzy drinks, and fruit juices that are high in sugar, fruit squashes provide more interesting flavours, and some jugs and water bottles exist that allow you to infuse fruit of your choice into your water!
You’ll likely feel the effects of dehydration first as tiredness or a loss of concentration. If you feel like you’re not at your mental best, it could be the early stages of dehydration- if it progresses to a headache and aching muscles, then you can be more confident. When you urinate, you’ll find out more – if you’re not urinating very often, and the colour is darker than normal, that means there’s less fluid in your system.
Fortunately, there is an easy home test for dehydration to help confirm things. You simply need to pinch the skin on the back of your hand. If it quickly springs back into shape, then your hydration levels are likely normal. If it remains slack longer, you know you need to rehydrate!
If you’ve spotted that your hydration levels are low, then you need to rehydrate quickly and efficiently. This means water isn’t your best option. Water doesn’t contain enough of the chemicals you’ve lost alongside your fluid reserves.
You need a specialised rehydration solution. Whether it’s an isotonic sports drink (that mimics the chemical concentration of the cells of your body) or soluble rehydration tablets and powders, that top up your electrolytes anywhere you have a bottle or glass of water, these will allow you to get back to feeling your best with the minimum of delay.