The body needs adequate amounts of water and fluids for carrying out its normal functions. A person gets dehydrated when the amount of fluid lost is more than one's water intake. The body loses water via elimination of waste (urination and bowel movement). Fluid loss also occurs while breathing and sweating. People affected by severe diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive perspiration are susceptible to dehydration.
Precautionary measures must therefore be taken during hot, dry weather when water loss might be more due to profuse sweating. One is bound to perspire more while performing intensive workouts or other strenuous physical activity. Under such situations, water intake must be increased. If the lost fluids are not replenished in time, one is likely to experience distressing symptoms.
Although, people from any age group may become dehydrated, older adults, young children and those with a compromised immune system are more susceptible. While mild cases can be tackled by increasing the intake of water and fluids, immediate treatment is required for severe cases.
Since one gets dehydrated on losing substantial amount of water and other fluids, it is obvious that the body's requirements of fluids must be met to prevent dehydration. This you can do by consuming fluids and foods such as fruits and vegetables, which are a good source of water.
Never wait till you feel thirsty, especially in warm weather and while exercising. In fact, it is considered a healthy practice to drink water at regular intervals even when you are not thirsty. Around 8 - 10 glasses of water is what is the minimum requirement, which must be met daily.
Keep yourself well-hydrated if you would be performing a strenuous exercise, marathon, and other similar endurance sports. Do not forget to replenish your body with fluids at regular intervals during and after workouts. However, make sure that you don't go overboard. In rare cases, drinking abnormally large amounts of water can cause a condition called hyponatremia, which is characterized by abnormally low level of sodium in the blood due to drinking abnormally large amounts of water.
It must be noted that one can get dehydrated even in winter. Wearing insulated clothing also results in a substantial loss of bodily fluids through sweating. To add to this, indoor heating may cause the skin to lose moisture, thereby increasing the demand to replenish fluids. So, make sure that you stay well-hydrated in winters.
One of the easiest ways to prevent dehydration is to keep up with the '8x8 rule' of drinking 8 ounces of water daily. Although, this rule is not supported by scientific evidence, it is easy to remember and does no harm. Another effective remedy and preventive measure is to take an oral rehydration solution (ORS).