5 signs you might be dehydrated
Dehydration is one of the worst possible things that can happen to the human body. If your body doesn’t have enough fluid to function properly then you’ll struggle to do pretty much anything – move, talk or even breathe. That’s why, particularly in warm weather, it’s always important to remain vigilant in case dehydration strikes.
What is dehydration?
If you lose more than 10% of your overall body weight in fluid then you are officially suffering from extreme dehydration, which can lead to fatal complications. You can become mildly dehydrated losing only around 3% of your body weight through water though and this level of dehydration might sometimes be difficult to spot even in yourself.
But to prevent a case of mild dehydration from evolving into something more serious, here are 5 signs of early dehydration to look out for.
1. Bad breath
When you’re dehydrated, your body might not be creating enough saliva and this could lead to an increase in bacterial growth in your mouth. This, in turn, will create a foul odour. It’s the same reason why you’ll often find yourself waking up with “morning breath,” as we produce less saliva during sleep. So, if it’s a hot day and somebody mentioned your breath is a little ripe you might want to get yourself a glass of water.
2. Muscle cramps
When your body loses fluids it can suffer from something called “heat illness” which often reveals itself through muscle cramps. As muscles work harder they can seize up and create that familiar unpleasant cramping effect. This is more likely to happen during strenuous exercise and can be helped by consuming not only water but fluids with lots of electrolytes.
3. Flushed skin
While it’s common to think people are really sweaty when they are dehydrated, the opposite is actually true. When you start to dehydrate, your body loses the ability to sweat and your skin will start to become dry and flushed. You can check yourself easily by punching some skin between your fingers. If it takes some time to return to normal after you let it go this can be a sign of dry skin.
4. Fever, chills and headaches
The more obvious signs of serious dehydration are a little more difficult to ignore. If you are hot but notice your skin is cool to the touch then you are at serious risk. Conversely, if your skin is too hot then you need to cool yourself down immediately by applying an ice pack and seeing a doctor ASAP. Headaches are also a common sign of dehydration as anyone who has ever suffered from a bad hangover will be able to tell you.
5. Sweet cravings
Perhaps the most peculiar sign of dehydration is a sudden yearning for sweet foods. This is caused by your liver, which struggles to release glucose when it doesn’t have enough water. So, if you don’t usually have a sweet tooth but find yourself suddenly craving chocolate you might want to check yourself.
Checking for dehydration
We’ve already mentioned the skin pinch test but perhaps the most definitive test for dehydration is checking the colour of your urine. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are. So, if you’re looking at more of a Sunny Delight than a lemonade, get a glass or three of cool filtered water down you!