photo courtesy of istockphoto.com
Do you ever make it to the end of your day and realize that the only thing you've had to drink before racing out the door 12 hours earlier was a cup of coffee?
Or maybe you've done a bit better and tossed back a cold beer with your workmates over dinner?
Perhaps you’ve decided to avoid your water bottle so you could skip a few time- stealing bathroom visits during your work day?
I’m guilty of all three of these easy offences that can turn into a serious problem- dehydration.
And over the years, because of the nature of my work as a field engineer, it's happened more times than I'd like to admit.
For me, here are some of the signs I noticed before I put two and two together:
background headache that crept up who knows when
unreasonable mood (when my default is annoyingly easygoing)
can't remember the last time I peed
heartburn so pre-stomach it could be called ‘throatburn’
parchment skin with indented place holders for my tight socks and sleeve cuffs
a crushing urge to swallow my shower water, toothpaste, actually anything fluidy
But hold on there, before you judge me and deny ever having sat in this acrid moment, being dehydrated doesn't always come with such obvious cracked bells and dry-whistles. There is a vast range of symptoms one can suffer from when dehydrated: sneaky things, that easily get passed off as - something else’s problem.
For me, it went like this:
- Runny eyes and a stuffy nose - oh great, leave it to me to develop allergies in my 30's! I guess Sudafed's on the grocery list from now on.
- Too many visits to the toilet - crap on a stick, how the heck did I get another UTI? So embarrassed to go back to my doctor so soon...Maybe I should ask for antibiotic repeats, and wash with something more powerful, you know, down there.
- Bring your sore throat to work days - did I catch the office cold, for the third time in 3 months? Nobody's going to believe me. I should just go in to work anyways, I can’t fall even more behind schedule.
Any of this sound a tad familiar? Needless to say, at no point did my doctor, my boss, or anybody say to me: Tell me a bit about your hydration behaviours?
According to the hydration experts over at the European Hydration Institute chronic dehydration can increase the risk of infection.
Why? Because... histamines. Not getting enough water actually raises your histamine levels, which suppresses your body's immune system, leaving you wide open to get sick.
If you’ve nodded along to any of my story, you might need to revisit your hydration practices.
For more information on hydration, go check out the wealth of info at the European Hydration Institute, and go have a chat with your doctor about symptoms you might be medicating for unnecessarily.
Stay HYDRATED my friends!