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6 Surprising Reasons You May Be Dehydrated

The most common causes of dehydration can be easy to miss. Here's what to look for to keep healthy and hydrated.

A hand holding a bottle of water
Jun 15 2018

You've heard the saying, "you are what you eat," but what you drink matters a whole lot, too.

Water makes up close to 60 percent of the human body, yet we often underestimate the importance of hydration. Even though water keeps your brain firing at top speed, your muscles moving and your heart healthy, a lot of people still don't get enough water to stay properly hydrated.

Research in ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal shows that losses of just 1 to 2 percent of body fluids can be accompanied by serious side effects like impaired cognition. For a 150-pound person, that's the equivalent of close to two pounds in water weight.

Do you need a hydration refresher? Jennifer Williams, MPH, research scientist and hydration expert at Abbott, shares the six most common causes of dehydration — and how to take control of each.

Hot Temperatures

Hot summer weather can increase the risk of dehydration during outdoor sports and exercise, but even if you're more into sunbathing than beach volleyball, hot temperatures can still lead to dehydration by increasing your sweat rate. Sweat can evaporate quickly — just because your skin is dry to the touch doesn't mean you aren't perspiring.

Pedialyte Freezer Pops are a great way to help you and your little ones hydrate and cool off at the same time. Keep an eye out for common heat exhaustion symptoms including headache, rapid pulse, cramps, excessive sweating, weakness, fatigue, clammy skin, nausea and fainting.


Exercise

During long runs, pickup soccer matches and games of tag, your body loses water and electrolytes through a combination of sweating, heavy breathing and increased core body temperatures. Experts recommend drinking about four to eight fluid ounces of a carbohydrate- and electrolyte-containing beverage every 15 to 20 minutes when exercising for more than an hour.


Stomach Bugs

Whether you're battling food poisoning or the stomach flu, gastrointestinal (GI) distress commonly results in dehydration. Like vomiting, diarrhea can cause a deficiency of fluids, sugar and electrolytes. On top of that, when you're feeling queasy, you probably aren't eager to eat or drink much, which further exacerbates symptoms of dehydration.

One great way to help get your gut back on track is with prebiotics — food for all of the good bacteria that live in your GI tract and promote healthy digestion. Try Pedialyte® AdvancedCare™ with PreActiv™ to get your hydration levels up while giving your gut the prebiotics it may need.


Air Travel

Plane air is stuffy, stagnant and super dry — it can feel like it's sucking the moisture right out of your body. Fatigue, headaches, dry mouth, and dry skin are just some of the dehydration symptoms that can come from being in the lower humidity of a plane cabin for long periods of time. Hydrate well before heading to the airport and tuck a few Pedialyte Powder Packs into your carry on to drink during long flights or layovers and to have on standby for any celebratory drinks or surprise setbacks that happen as you adjust to the new locale.


Morning Sickness

For many expectant moms, morning sickness is a not-so-fun part of pregnancy, and in some cases it can result in substantial fluid losses. Vomiting expels sugars and electrolytes including potassium, sodium and chloride from the body. These nutrients play an important role in your body's ability to absorb and use fluids, which means rehydrating through water alone may not be enough.

Instead, look for an oral rehydration solution that contains an optimal balance of sugar and electrolytes, like Pedialyte. It's important to also talk to your doctor about ways to reduce morning sickness symptoms and what rehydration strategies are best suited for expecting moms.


Alcohol

Don't be fooled by the ice in your fancy glass — margaritas, cocktails and alcoholic beverages do way more to dehydrate than they do to hydrate. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases the amount of urine produced and expelled by the body. The result is dehydration that can contribute to hangover symptoms like headaches and nausea. While Pedialyte is not a hangover cure (there's no magic potion that will take back last night), it can help to relieve symptoms of dehydration. Your best bet? Hydrate before you go to bed and ideally between each alcoholic drink.

Although dehydration is common, it can also be dangerous if not handled properly. Keep an eye out for symptoms in kids and in yourself, and remember to keep plenty of water and electrolyte-replenishing beverages on hand.

 

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