8 Unusual Signs of Dehydration

Summer is just beginning here on the Eastern Shore, and the heat and humidity values are already nearing triple digits. With peak season still around the corner, it’s important to start defending yourself against health issues like sunburn, skin cancer and dehydration. A good sunscreen routine can safeguard your skin, but dehydration can sneak up on anyone, and it doesn’t always announce itself with that “parched throat” feeling.

As your hometown healthcare team, Urgent Care of Fairhope wants to make sure your family stays healthy and hydrated all season long. Here are some surprising signs of dehydration you might not expect, but should definitely look out for.

Surprising and Unusual Signs of Dehydration

While thirst is a crucial signal, it’s not always the first indicator. Here are some lesser-known ways your body might be saying, “hey, I need some hydration!”

1. Bad Breath

Yep, you read that right. When you’re dehydrated, your body produces less saliva, which helps keep your mouth clean and fresh. Less saliva can lead to a buildup of bacteria, causing bad breath. If brushing and mouthwash aren’t cutting it, consider upping your water intake.

2. Irritability

Feeling cranky? It might not be the kids. We all know dehydration can make you feel sluggish, but did you know it can also affect your mood? When you’re dehydrated, your brain doesn’t function at its peak, which can lead to irritability and frustration. So next time you’re feeling grumpy, grab a glass of water before reaching for that extra caffeine!

3. Dry or Flushed Skin

We often associate dehydration with sweaty, sticky skin, but it can also cause your skin to feel dry or flushed. If you notice your skin looking usually red or feeling dry despite the humidity, it might be a sign you need more fluids.

Pinching your skin is also a quick dehydration test: if it takes a while to smooth out after you let go, it could be a sign you’re dry inside and out. Think of your skin like a plump grape–dehydrated skin loses its elasticity and becomes more like a raisin.

4. Muscle Cramps

Engaging in physical activities under the sun can lead to muscle cramps, but this isn’t always just due to overexertion. Dehydration can cause an electrolyte imbalance, resulting in painful cramps. If your muscles are seizing up, it might be time to grab a water bottle.

5. Headaches

Feeling a dull ache or throb in your head? Dehydration headaches are no joke. When you’re low on fluids, your brain can temporarily contract and shrink inside your skull, triggering pain. If you feel a headache coming on, try drinking water before reaching for pain relief.

6. Food Cravings

Craving something sweet? It might not be hunger; it could be dehydration. When dehydrated, your liver can struggle to release glycogen and other energy sources, leading to cravings for sweet and sugary treats. Before raiding the cookie jar, try drinking a glass of water first.

7. Dizziness or Lightheadedness

Feeling a bit woozy? Dehydration can lead to a drop in blood pressure, causing dizziness or lightheadedness. This is particularly common after standing up quickly. Staying hydrated helps maintain your blood pressure and keep you steady on your feet.

8. Dry Eyes

We often forget that our eyes need hydration, too. If your eyes feel dry, irritated, or if you notice fewer tears when you cry, it could be a sign of dehydration. Staying hydrated helps maintain the moisture balance in your eyes.

Keeping Your Family Hydrated: Tips for a Cool Summer

Here in Fairhope, we’re lucky to have so many ways to enjoy the outdoors. But with all that activity, staying hydrated becomes even more important. Here are some tips to keep your family cool and happy all summer long:

  • Freeze it! Popsicles, frozen fruit in water, or even ice cubes infused with fruit are delicious ways to cool down and stay hydrated.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle everywhere. Having a water bottle on hand makes it easy to take sips throughout the day.
  • Snack on healthy summer treats. Watermelon, cucumber, and strawberries are all packed with water for a delicious source of hidden hydration.
  • Listen to your body. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Aim for small sips throughout the day, even if you don’t feel parched.

Remember: If you experience any concerning symptoms of dehydration, Urgent Care of Fairhope is here for you! We offer convenient walk-in visits so you can get the care you need quickly and get back to enjoying your fun in the sun. Drop a pin at our Fairhope walk-in clinic and check our waitlist online before you arrive to plan a fast and friendly visit.

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