How to Avoid Dehydration

A key component for optimal health is to drink water every day. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of replacing water with other types of fluids, most of which have added ingredients that will not do your health any favors.

Kids are in particular prone to drinking sweet drinks, like soda and fruit juice instead of plain water and many teens tend to reach for sports and energy drinks instead.
About one-quarter of children in the US don’t drink water on a daily basis.

Overall, boys were more than 75% more likely to be inadequately hydrated than girls.
This dovetails with previous studies shows that boys drink more sugary beverages than girls. According to one 2011 analysis, about 70% of boys aged 2 to 19 drink sugary beverages daily.

Your body needs water for proper functioning.
Your body is comprised of about 65% water, which is needed for a number of physiological processes and biochemical reactions, including but not limited to:
Blood circulation
Regulation of body temperature
Waste removal and detoxification

Once your body has lost between one to two percent of its total water content, it will signal its needs by making you feel thirsty. Using thirst as a guide to how much water you need to drink is one obvious way to ensure your individual needs are met, day-by-day.

However, by the time your thirst mechanism actually kicks in, you’re already in the early stages of dehydration, so you don’t want to ignore the initial sensations of thirst.

Moreover, the thirst mechanism tends to be underdeveloped in children and specially so in the elderly, making them more vulnerable to dehydration.
Hunger – sugar graving in particular – can also be a sign that your body is crying for water, so when you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first.

So, in addition to thirst, which is an obvious signal, other signals indicating that you need to drink more water include:
Fatigue and/or dizziness
Double vision
Foggy thinking and poor concentration
Muscle cramps
dark, concentrated urine
bad breath

Severe dehydration can be life threatening, but even mild dehydration can cause problems ranging from headaches and irritability to impaired cognition.