Feeling tired and getting a headache? It could be dehydration!

Brooke Gardner, DPT, LAT, Agnesian HealthCare Sports & Spine Center
Dehydration Headache

The summer heat is here, and that means chances for dehydration are high when working and playing outside. How much water is recommended to stay hydrated during the day? Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces every day. So if you weigh 160 pounds, then aim for 80 ounces of water per day. If you are more active or in a hot environment, you may need more than 80 ounces. This may seem like a lot of water, but remember that fruits, vegetables, soups, tea and milk also count toward your total volume.

How do I know if I’m dehydrated?

One way to tell if you are hydrated is by looking at the color of your urine. If it is pale yellow, you are hydrated, while darker yellow can mean dehydration. Another way to tell if you are dehydrated is your thirst. If you are thirsty, you are likely already dehydrated.  Other symptoms of dehydration include:  dry mouth, feeling tired or sleepy, headache, dry skin, dizziness and few or no tears. If you suspect severe dehydration, contact your healthcare provider or EMS immediately.

What should you drink?

Water is your best option, unless your healthcare provider recommends otherwise. You should avoid caffeine and sugary drinks, and try a piece of fruit instead to replenish any electrolytes or nutrients lost.

Tips on how to stay hydrated:

  • Freeze water safe water bottles and take with you to have cold water when out in the sun.
  • Have a water bottle at your work station and sip on it all day long.
  • Add lemons, limes, oranges, mint or strawberries to your water to give it some added flavor.
  • Bring a water bottle with you when working out or going for a walk or have it in a cooler in the car for afterwards.
  • Keep glass water bottles in the refrigerator at home to always have cold water available.

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