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Dangers of Dehydration

A physician discusses signs and symptoms of dehydration and how to stay safe in the heat.

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“Some of the signs and symptoms can include headache, muscle aches, muscle cramps, some nausea, maybe even dizziness and light-headedness,” said Tom Waters, MD, emergency medicine physician with Cleveland Clinic. Image for illustration purposes
“Some of the signs and symptoms can include headache, muscle aches, muscle cramps, some nausea, maybe even dizziness and light-headedness,” said Tom Waters, MD, emergency medicine physician with Cleveland Clinic. Image for illustration purposes

Mega Doctor News

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CLEVELAND CLINIC – On a hot day, you may get thirsty working in the yard or sweat while exercising and playing sports.

But if you find yourself having trouble concentrating or feeling fatigued, you may be suffering from dehydration.

“Some of the signs and symptoms can include headache, muscle aches, muscle cramps, some nausea, maybe even dizziness and light-headedness,” said Tom Waters, MD, emergency medicine physician with Cleveland Clinic.

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Dehydration happens when the body loses more fluid than it takes in.

Dr. Waters said to help prevent dehydration, it’s important to hydrate before heading out into the heat.

You’ll also want to avoid caffeine and alcohol.

When working outside on a hot day, it’s best to drink eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.

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If you feel heat stress coming on, Dr. Waters recommends immediately decreasing the intensity and length of your activity.

Heat cramps and heat exhaustion can be treated at home with fluids, rest and air conditioning but if you stop sweating, it’s a sign you may be severely dehydrated.

And it becomes a medical emergency if you start to feel confused or disoriented.

“If one notices that they are starting to have any mental status changes or neurologic changes that means you are moving into heat stroke,” explained Dr. Waters. “That is an acute life-threatening condition and that needs to be addressed in your local, closest emergency department.”

Dehydration can progress to heat stroke, which can lead to organ failure or even death.

So, make sure you are drinking water before, during and after activities in the heat.

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