Hawaii Health Alerts: Don't Wait, Hydrate!

Medically reviewed in June 2022

We all know how important it is to drink water. But sometimes we’re having too much fun hanging out at the beach, hiking or even walking around the mall to remember to keep hydrated.

Signs you’re dehydrated
Dehydration happens when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body can’t function normally. According to our friends at Sharecare, there are ways beyond thirst to tell that you’re dehydrated.

Feeling sluggish, have a headache or can’t concentrate? Your body is telling you it wants water! Dehydration can also cause your blood pressure to drop, which could result in a migraine headache.

Friends offering you mints or gum? Your mouth has a natural way to rinse away odor-causing bacteria and food particles: saliva. Dry mouth from dehydration allows debris to build up on mouth surfaces, leading to bad breath.

Dry, flaky skin? A lack of liquids can negatively affect your skin. If it doesn’t receive enough moisture, your skin can look dull. Even if you have oily skin, dehydrated skin is prone to excess oil and breakouts.

Urine trouble. What goes in must come out and your body could be trying to tell you something with the color of your urine. The color is affected by various factors including hydration. Clear or pale straw-yellow indicates that you’re nice and hydrated. However, darker, more concentrated urine may signal severe dehydration or a condition that needs medical attention.

Tips to stay hydrated
Drinking water is a quick, effective way to stay hydrated, but there are other ways to make sure your body has enough liquids.

Use a personal water bottle. Having water close by and convenient is the key to drinking it more often. You’ll be less tempted to go buy a soda if your water bottle is right there. You can also mark amounts and times on your water bottle to make sure you’re on track to drinking enough water throughout the day!

Eat (and drink) water based foods. Vegetables include celery, broccoli, peppers, squash and cucumbers. Fruits such as grapefruit, watermelon, pineapple, oranges, berries, apples and tomatoes have a high water content. Chop them up, incorporate them into your snacks and meals or infuse them in your water, blend into a juice or add into a smoothie.

Tea to the rescue. Hot tea or unsweetened iced tea can be refreshing and contribute to your hydration levels. Just make sure to watch how much caffeine you’re consuming.

Avoiding dehydration means avoiding health problems like headaches, fatigue, heat exhaustion and urinary and kidney problems, according to The Mayo Clinic. Be sure to listen to your body for signs that you’re thirsty and drink up when necessary.

This content originally appeared on Well-Being Hawaii.

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