When you’re on the job, in the sun and heat for extended time periods, dehydration is an imminent threat. Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than your body takes in. We must take every precaution to maintain hydration for the safety and well-being of ourselves and our fellow workers. However, in the event that dehydration makes its appearance, it’s important to be educated. Knowing the signs and symptoms of dehydration will keep you informed on how to identify dehydration in yourself and others early on, prevent further dehydration, and act in severe cases.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
Discoloration of Urine. When urine is more concentrated, usually a darker yellow or brown, it is an indicator of a lack of sufficient water in the body.
Muscle Cramps. Muscle cramps and spasms occur when there is an electrolyte imbalance and sodium or potassium levels are low. This can be a residual effect of dehydration.
Lightheaded/Dizziness. Dehydration causes your blood pressure to drop. Beginning signs could be feeling lightheaded when you stand up too fast but could become as serious as intense dizziness, disorientation, and confusion.
Skin Elasticity. Another identification of dehydration is a loss of skin elasticity. If you pinch your skin and it doesn’t bounce right back to normal, this is a sign of moderate-severe dehydration. When skin is properly hydrated, it maintains elasticity.
Dry Mouth/Eyes/Nose. If you have significant dryness in your different membranes that are usually moist, it is a good indication you do not have any fluids.
Infrequent Bathroom Visits. If your bathroom visits are more than 4-6 hours apart, it is likely that you are not taking in enough fluid. To ensure you maintain hydration, drink enough water that you are visiting the bathroom regularly.
Thirst. Do you feel thirsty? This is probably a sign to drink more water! Listen to your body and the warning signs that it provides naturally.
With summer around the corner, pay close attention to your body and others’. Taking note of these signs and symptoms will allow you to detect dehydration early and before it becomes serious. Drink plenty of water over the span of the entire day to keep yourself hydrated!
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