Feeling tired, run-down, and just generally depleted? You may think you’re coming down with something, or you’ve been working too hard, but your sluggish state may be due to something else entirely: dehydration.
It’s said that 75% of Americans have chronic dehydration. We survive and thrive when our bodies have a steady balance of water, which makes up about 60% of body composition, on average. However, we lose fluids every day when we perspire, exercise, or go to the bathroom, and illness or medical conditions may also cause water loss. We can’t make up for those losses if we aren’t rehydrating.
So, what are the best ways to stay hydrated? We’ve got five simple strategies you can try to help recover from dehydration and maintain balanced fluid levels. But first, it’s helpful to know the signals your body sends to let you know you’re dehydrated.
Dehydration should be addressed as soon as possible so symptoms don’t get worse. Watch for these warning signs:
Prolonged dehydration that goes untreated can cause confusion, mood swings, high blood pressure, cramping, nausea, and hallucinations. These severe symptoms require immediate medical treatment.
But dehydration doesn’t have to get that advanced if you know how to spot these signs and take steps to rehydrate. Here are some tips that can help, from a water-rich diet to hydration IVs.
You already know that drinking plenty of water throughout the day is a sure way to prevent dehydration. But many people get tired of the taste of plain water, so they may not drink enough of it.
Instead, give your water a refreshing boost by adding a twist of flavor. Fruit juice, veggie slices, and herbs add a zing that makes drinking water appealing—and not a chore. You can go for a classic cucumber or lemon water or come up with delightful combinations like strawberries and basil or lime and cilantro.
Make sure you use a large glass to accommodate a generous serving of water (about 16 ounces) plus a few slices of whatever fruit or veggie you want, as well as some herb sprigs if needed. Another option: Invest in a reusable water bottle with a fruit infusion compartment so you can take your flavored creations on the go.
Let’s say you feel extra parched, and you can’t seem to quench your dehydration with just some water. This is the time to get hydration IV therapy.
IV treatment is one of the best ways to stay hydrated. A drip bag is filled with saline solution and infused into your bloodstream so you feel the hydrating effects right away. Even better, you can include assorted vitamins or minerals in your IV fluids to alleviate dehydration symptoms. For instance, B vitamins can help restore energy, while magnesium can help ease headache pain.
Mobile IV rehydration is particularly beneficial if your dehydration symptoms keep you from leaving your home or hotel room. You can get treatment at the location of your choice while medical professionals administer the IV and make sure you are comfortable. A hydration IV can restore your body’s fluid balance, helping you feel better again—fast.
Don’t limit yourself to liquids when you want to quench your body’s thirst. Foods that are rich in water can also help you meet your hydration needs. Here are some great foods to incorporate into your daily diet:
And here’s a bonus: When you eat all these nutritious fruits and veggies you’ll stay healthy as well as hydrated.
It’s hard to stay inside when a beautiful day is calling you outdoors. But scorching temps and too much sun exposure can lead to dehydration as well as heatstroke. Both conditions have similar symptoms and grow more dangerous the longer they’re untreated.
Staying indoors during peak temperatures (typically between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) prevents dehydration. Plan your outdoor activities around that time period whenever possible. And make sure you spend your indoor time in an air-conditioned space if you live in a climate where triple-digit heat is common. This will help prevent heat-related illnesses.
But what if you do have to go outside? Of course, you’ll want to carry water and layer on the sunscreen, but the clothing you wear is just as important. Choose an outfit that will help protect you from overheating, which can lead to dehydration, heatstroke, or other problems.
Here are some recommendations to keep in mind: