Keep your family hydrated, not only in the summer months but in the winter month, too. It’s easier to remember to have bottles of water and fluid available when the temperature reaches 90 degrees, but when the cold winds of winter are blowing, dehydration isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Let’s say you’re taking in the sights at the Hoyt farm and watching the “maple sugaring,” tapping the trees for their maple syrup. It’s easy to perspire if you’re drudging through the snow and it evaporates so quickly you won’t even notice it. Skiing, snow-shoeing and other winter sports drain you of your fluids and you won’t feel nearly as thirsty. That’s because the urge to drink reduces by 40 percent over the winter months. The blood vessels constrict in the cold and trick your body into thinking everything is okay.
Dehydration causes a number of physical problems.
Severe dehydration can be more immediately seen. It can cause headache, muscle cramps, irritability, tiredness and eventually lethargy and death. However, there is also prolonged mild dehydration that you might not notice unless you check urine color.
Chronic prolonged dehydration leads to a number of problems if it continues.
Some people simply don’t drink enough fluids. They often wait until they feel thirsty, which often means they’re already dehydrated. Water is the best way to hydrate, although most liquids will do. While coffee and tea act as diuretics, you’re still taking in more fluids than you lose. Chronic dehydration leads to hypertension, constipation, kidney stones, uremia, gallstones, kidney disease and joint complications. Those are all good reasons to have a bottle of water by your side to sip on frequently.
Dehydration can cause weight gain.
Your body tricks you sometimes and you confuse your need for fluids with hunger. If you think you’re hungry, drink a glass of water first to see if it’s dehydration. You’ll feel satisfied if it is. It’s always best to drink water over juices, pop or sports drinks if you’re saving calories and cutting down on sugar. Dehydration can cause water weight gain. That just doesn’t sound right but it’s true. When you’re dehydrated, your body is hoarding the water and if you’re like many people, it’s holding right near your waistband.
- Dehydration can lead to poor classroom performance. The brain is 80 to 85 percent water and it’s functioning requires that fluid to operate properly. One study showed that giving water to students during a challenge improved their ability by 14 percent.
- Insufficient water for the brain cells can cause changes in personality, which include depression, fatigue irritability and lethargy. If the kids are fighting, send them to the corner with a glass of water. (Yeah, it’s more probably sibling rivalry.)
- Lack of adequate fluid increases your risk for strokes.
- Dehydration slows your metabolism and makes weight loss more difficult.