It’s not even officially summer yet, and we’re already sweating up a storm. And the worst part? It only gets more uncomfortable from here. But as you stock up on sunscreen and scope out your neighborhood’s nearest pools, it’s important to keep in mind that when the hottest part of the year rolls in, so do a whole host of new dangers, including dehydration.
This troublesome side effect of enjoying the summer sun is one we can all fall victim to, but it’s especially important for children and the elderly. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health last year found that more than half of all children and adolescents in the US don’t get enough water. Ack! Inadequate hydration can lead to a whole bunch of scary symptoms, and even land you in the hospital.
Wondering what to look for? We spoke to Dr. John Higgins, a sports cardiologist with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, who shared eight warning signs to be on the lookout for this summer:
- Dry skin and/or mouth
- Less and/ or darker urine
Higgins said that the best way to prevent dehydration is to start by drinking 16 ounces of water as soon as you wake up in the morning. This is because your BFF the air conditioner can actually cause dehydration while you sleep. He also suggests drinking before, during (every 15 minutes) and after physical activity, which you should avoid doing during the middle of the day when the sun is hottest. Lastly, make it a point to drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume at that BBQ this weekend.
This story originally appeared on Southernliving.com.