Symptoms of dehydration and what to do if you experience them

Dehydration can cause pounding headaches, and that queasy feeling in your stomach.Picture: The Lazy Artist Gallery/Pexels

Dehydration can cause pounding headaches, and that queasy feeling in your stomach.Picture: The Lazy Artist Gallery/Pexels

Published Feb 26, 2024


Feeling like you’re melting in the summer heat or shivering through the winter chill is something we’ve all experienced.

But right now, as the heat cranks up, our friends inland are really feeling the sizzle. With extreme temperatures in full swing, the term “hot under the collar” is taking on a whole new meaning.

Being a walking, talking toastie isn’t just about the sweat patches. Heat stress is a serious business. It can sneak up on you with dehydration, pounding headaches and that queasy feeling in your stomach.

And if the sun keeps beating down on you day after day, things can get really dicey, even dangerous.

We all know that water is the VIP when it comes to our bodies. It’s like the body’s personal assistant, keeping everything running smoothly.

Water keeping everything running smoothly. Picture: Yaroslav Shuraev/Pexels

But when we don’t drink enough of the good stuff, we start to feel a bit off. Think of your body like a plant – without water, it wilts.

Symptoms you might be dehydrated

What are the tell-tale signs that you're not getting enough H2O?

Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration in adults and older children include:

Thirst: The sensation of thirst is usually one of the first signals that your body needs fluid.

Headache: Dehydration can lead to headaches, though the exact mechanisms are unclear. Some people tend to experience dehydration headaches more than others.

Dry mouth: Your body produces less saliva when you’re dehydrated, so your mouth and tongue may feel dry.

Less frequent urination: Urination is one way that fluid leaves the body. When you are dehydrated, there is less fluid to be released. In addition, dehydration may cause the kidneys to retain more fluid, also leading to less urination.

Dark urine: When you are adequately hydrated, your urine has more water and appears lighter in colour. When you are dehydrated, your urine is more concentrated and becomes darker.

Dizziness: Dehydration reduces the volume of your blood, lowering your blood pressure. This prevents adequate blood flow to the brain and can lead to feeling light-headed or dizzy.

Tiredness or fatigue: When you are dehydrated, your tissues have less of the fluids they need to function, which can leave you feeling tired or fatigued.

If you find yourself in this parched predicament, don't fret. The fix is to simply drink and consume water-based foods to increase your fluid intake.

With the world getting warmer, this isn't just a one-off; it’s a sneak peek at what's to come.

Dehydration treatment

Dehydration is treated by replacing the fluid that has been lost. In older children and adults, mild to moderate dehydration can be treated by increasing fluid intake.

To prevent dehydration, you should increase your fluid intake. Aim to drink water consistently throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Keeping a water bottle with you can serve as a convenient reminder to stay hydrated.

When rehydrating:

. Go slow and take small sips, don’t chug

. Try ice cubes or popsicles.

. Eat water-based fruits like watermelon and grapes.

. Avoid drinks that can make you more dehydrated, such as alcohol or drinks with caffeine.