The Dallas summer heat drains you. Then, the humidity exhausts you. The result can be dangerous dehydration that can land you in the hospital – or worse.
During summer, the Dallas area’s humid subtropical climate can be brutal, with temperatures well over 100 degrees and heat indices as high as 117 degrees. With the combination of heat and humidity, Dallas ranks fourth among the most uncomfortable U.S. cities.
With this weather commonplace in the summer months, children and adults alike must guard their health against severe hydration, which can sneak up faster than you think. Follow this guide to learn about the symptoms of dehydration, plus the strategies for dealing with this serious illness.
Drinking water is critical during hot weather. Remember, water makes up about 60 percent of the average person’s body weight. According to the Institute of Medicine, men need to drink an average of 13 cups of fluid a day, while women need about nine cups.
Thirst alone is not the best indicator of dehydration. In fact, for children and older adults, thirst is not a reliable measure of the body’s need for water. A better gauge is the color of the urine. If it’s clear or light-colored, the body is hydrated. Dark yellow or amber urine suggests dehydration.
Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include:
- Thirst and a dry, sticky mouth
- Lethargy and less activity in children
- Dry skin
- Few or no tears when crying
- Decreased urine output, such as eight hours or more without urination for children or no wet diapers for infants over three hours or more.
Severe dehydration, which requires immediate medical attention, can create symptoms including:
- Extreme thirst
- Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children
- Irritability and confusion in adults
- Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
- No sweating
- Little or no urination
- Sunken eyes
- Shriveled, dry skin that lacks elasticity
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat and breaking
- No tears when crying
- Delirium or unconsciousness in severe cases
If an adult experiences mild to moderate dehydration, the treatment is simple. Drink more fluids, including water and sports drinks. Children and older adults need to be watched more carefully.
If severe signs persist, it’s time to visit a medical professional immediately for:
- Extreme thirst, a lack of urination, shriveled skin, dizziness or confusion
- Severe diarrhea, with or without vomiting or fever
- Bloody stool
- Moderate diarrhea for three days or more
- Inability to keep down fluids
- Irritability, disorientation, sleepiness or lethargy
In any of these cases, don’t hesitate to get the medical treatment you need. Head to Highland Park Emergency Center, a free-standing emergency room right in your neighborhood. An emergency room physician can see you quickly, evaluate your condition, and take steps to remedy dehydration immediately.
Highland Park Emergency Center
5150 Lemmon Ave Suite 108
Dallas, Texas 75209