You Might Be Dehydrated If...
Dehydration happens to the best of us, especially in college.
The day gets busy and you forget to drink water, or you stay up studying and opt for coffee instead. It’s common, but dangerous. Dehydration, if unchecked, can prevent the body from carrying out its necessary functions.
So how do you know if you’re dehydrated? Here are some common warning signs:
The bathroom is a good place to find out if you are dehydrated. First of all, if you can’t remember the last time you used the bathroom, you are dehydrated. The color of your urine is also a good gauge of hydration. Clear means hydrated. Yellow indicates dehydration. Brown means go to the doctor immediately because you are about to shrivel up and turn into an actual raisin.
Another symptom is decreased skin turgor. This basically means that if you pinch the skin on the back of your hand and it doesn’t snap back into place right away, you’re dehydrated. Crazy, right?
Dizziness, fatigue (more so than usual) and confusion (again, more so than usual) also indicate dehydration. Confusion and fatigue are to be expected after an all-nighter in the library; but if you sleep for ten hours and still wake up dazed and confused, something’s wrong.
If you’re extremely thirsty, your mouth is dry, or you have a headache, you might be dehydrated. Listen to your body. If you’re thirsty, choose to drink water!
Dehydration isn’t the only ailment that can cause these symptoms, of course, but it is a common one. Like I said, it’s important to listen to your body. Take care not to ignore things that are out of the ordinary, but respond accordingly. Here are some tips on ways to recover from and prevent dehydration:
The obvious way to prevent or recover from dehydration is to drink plenty of water. Drink slowly and methodically. This ensures that your body has time to properly absorb the fluids.
Drinking water is a great start, but, according to the Mayo Clinic, it alone may not be enough, especially when you are already dehydrated and trying to make a comeback. Try alternating between water and sports drinks during recovery. Sports drinks that are high in electrolytes help to replenish some of the key nutrients your body needs.
Eating foods that are higher in sodium, potassium, and water content is another way to keep your body hydrated. Watermelon, applesauce, hard-boiled eggs, and vegetable soup are a few good ones. Like sports drinks, these foods replenish electrolytes that diminish as your body becomes more dehydrated.
Of course, prevention is preferred over recovery. But even the most vigilant of us will face dehydration at some point. With these symptoms in mind, you’ll be able to spot dehydration a mile away. And when that happens, don't forget these tips!
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Cat S.