Water is essential, period. Nothing more to say. So how do we know if our body is draining out of fluids especially when we trek the wild? Keep reading below for tips and valuable knowledge that you can pack for your next adventure in the wild.
What Science Tells us
If you're thirsty, it doesn't always mean you're dehydrated. Dehydration is often accompanied by a lack of salt, or electrolytes, which causes your cells to dry up, making you feel thirsty. It is common for people who are dehydrated to first experience a mild craving for salt before they actually become thirsty. This is due to the body's natural tendency to restore its electrolyte balance when it is in desperate need of water.
Another kind of dehydration is called "pure water" dehydration or "intercellular dehydration," and this causes the body to lose more water than salt, resulting in a thirst sensation that appears before most other symptoms.
Even if you don't feel thirsty, it's important to be aware of any signs of dehydration. You may avert an outdoor medical emergency by detecting the early signs of dehydration in yourself and your traveling companions. Dehydration symptoms range from minor to severe, so we've put up a quick guide to help you identify them and receive the proper treatment as soon as possible.
Signs and Symptoms That You're Dehydrated
Dehydration's initial signs are perspiration and slight weariness, which may be remedied by drinking water. Severe dehydration, which may need medical attention, is the most dangerous stage and should be taken seriously since mild symptoms might be a precursor to more severe ones.
Moderate symptoms are as follows:
Low amounts of salivation.
Muscle fatigue or weakness, with a little cramping, are common.
A strong sense of thirst.
Lack of hunger or loss of appetite.
Headache and dizziness.
The skin is very dry.
Urine that is dark yellow.
You can tell if you're in the early stages of dehydration by checking your hunger level. While your body should be desiring nutrition after a few hours of hiking, if nothing in your pack does, it's likely a sign that you're dehydrated and in need of rehydrating.
Observe Your Urination: Keeping note of your urine patterns and color is a good idea, including how many times you can remember going in the past 8-12 hours and how many times since you started your journey. Even if you haven't had a chance to drink that much in the last 24 hours, you are probably dehydrated. Additionally, if your urine is a dark yellow or brownish color, you need to drink more fluids.
Try Spitting: If you have problems producing the saliva required to spit once or twice, you should try taking little sips of water or other liquids available.
If mild symptoms are ignored, severe dehydration might develop in. Extreme cases of dehydration, such as those observed during ultramarathons and other long-distance races when water is scarce or the body cannot rest and recuperate for long periods of time in hot conditions, are more likely to happen. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention right away and restore fluids as rapidly as possible using oral rehydration treatments like electrolyte powder or other hydration products like sports drinks.
Signs And Symptoms Of Severe Dehydration:
Very little to no sweating.
Chills or fever.
No Urination or very dark in color.
Skin that is too dry , especially skin that "sticks together" when pressed.
Severe dehydration may be the cause of a rapid rise in body temperature or flu-like symptoms extreme weariness and chills. Rest and rehydrate after engaging in any rigorous activity. Taking a few hours off from rigorous physical exercise can help your body recuperate.
Keep a journal of your ideas: Dehydration may cause your thoughts to become jumbled or confused. If your thoughts start to stray or you begin to become disoriented, stop, take a rest and if possible, assess yourself in a shady, cool area as soon as possible. When traveling with others, let them know if you're starting to feel the effects of dehydration and ask for their help. Rest and rehydrating drinks are always the greatest cures for dehydration symptoms.
Grab the back of your hand: Pinching the back of your hand or arm to see how soon your skin returns to its original position is another technique to gauge more severe signs of dehydration. The skin loses its flexibility when moisture is low from the body.
Some of these symptoms are difficult to identify, but rehydrating oneself with water, fruit juice or an electrolyte powder is essential to avoid the more serious phases of dehydration. The best way to avoid becoming dehydrated in the first place is to be disciplined about how much electrolytes and water you consume, as well as to take frequent small breaks, especially in hot weather.
Lastly, be sure to keep your wits up and plan ahead. Good discipline and self assessment to what your body can tolerate at trail is the key to staying hydrated. Be boundless and have a fun-filled adventure in the outdoors.