Keeping yourself hydrated during any adventure is extremely important. If you are backpacking in the desert or snow showing in a winter wonder land physical exertion and dry conditions can cause you to become dehydrated very quickly. The easiest way to combat dehydration is to drink lots of fluids before during and after any adventure. To help keep you hydrated we have put together a list of symptoms and ways to treat mild dehydration so that you know how to spot and treat mild dehydration.
Mild to moderate dehydration symptoms
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Decreased need to urinate
- Dry skin
- Dizziness or lightheaded
- Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
Severe dehydration symptoms
- Extreme thirst
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
- Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
- Little or no urination — urine that is passed is a dark yellow or gold color.
- Sunken eyes
- Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
- Low blood pressure
- No tears when crying
- In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
The Skin Test
Using tow fingers grab a small amount of skin on the back of your hand. The best location to do this between your wrist and where your fingers start. Pull the skin up and let the skin go. The skin should spring back to normal position very quickly. If this takes more than a couple of seconds for the the skin to bounce back you might be dehydrated.
If you are well hydrated you will be “Clear and Copious”. This little saying was taught to me many years ago in Boy Scouts. It means that if you are urinating often and it is clear or mostly clear then you are staying hydrated. If you find yourself sweating a lot but are unsure the last time you urinated was you need to stop and drink fluids. Stay away from dark colored beverages, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol. Water or some type of high electrolyte drink such as Gatorade or a mix in supplement such as Nuun is best. The warning colors to watch for range in color from light yellow (chardonnay) to dark yellow. If your urine color is orange you need to seek immediate medial help.
- Drink lots of fluids. This includes before you set out on your adventure during and after.
- Switch out some of your snacks like nuts chips and pretzels for fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Wear appropriate clothing for your activity, location and weather.
- Take a rest and drink water, eat food, and rest in a shady spot.
- Plan your activities around the hottest time of day.
Author: Hiking the Trail