Common Misconceptions About Dehydration

Now that it is summer, the subject of dehydration is even more talked about. We hear the terrible stories of heat stroke victims and dehydrated hikers who have to be air evacuated to safety. So in an effort to better understand dehydration, here is a list of three common misconceptions that you have more than likely heard before. Part of staying healthy is being informed about the truth. These myth explanations are designed to do just that.

1) Dehydration is not a real risk

Some people feel that dehydration is just uncomfortable, or that it only happens to people who aren’t used to sweating in the heat. This misconception might be the most dangerous one on our list, because dehydration can strike quickly without much warning. Our bodies do a great job of telling us when we need more water, so the key to reducing your risk of dehydration is to simply listen to your body. Dehydration symptoms include sluggishness, headache, decreased output, and when unaddressed these can progress to seizures or kidney problems.

2) You can’t drink too much water

Some people tend to force themselves to drink because they think it is the right thing to do. Guzzling water when you are not thirsty is usually unnecessary though. There is the potential to drink too much water, and that can result in a depletion of sodium and ensuing side effects like nausea, disorientation, and severe headaches. While the dangers of over-hydration are very real, they are also very rare. You would have to consume an excessive amount of liquids to over hydrate, and more than likely, your body would tell you stop drinking way before you got to that point.

3) You are already dehydrated if you feel thirsty

Contrary to popular belief, being thirsty does not imply that you are in fact dehydrated. As mentioned before, our bodies do a great job of maintaining homeostasis, and the thirst mechanism is key here.  It is a sensitive response, so a little thirst probably just means you need a swig or two.  Common sense plays a role with this misconception. If you haven’t had anything to drink for hours, then being thirsty could in fact mean you are dehydrated.

Whether you've heard these myths or not, it is crucial to keep yourself hydrated during these warmer months of summer.  Be sure to always have a bottle of water handy.

 

*Disclaimer: Always consult your physician or other health care professional before seeking treatment or taking related advice herein.*

Story Credit: Dehydration Myths: 7 Things You Should Know About Staying Hydrated By Sarah Klein