Do you think dehydration affects your business? Estimates suggest that three quarter of American adults go through their day in a state of at least mild dehydration. This can result in anything from slight mood changes and productivity loss, to serious job-related accidents that may have other wise been prevented.
Water is essential in the body. It flushes out toxins, aids digestion, supports joint and eye movement, and keeps the skin healthy. So long as you’re properly hydrated, your body has no issues carrying out these routine functions. But strenuous tasks, especially in hot and humid environments, can cause the body to lose fluids quickly. Mild dehydration is defined as a 1.5% loss in the body’s water volume, and symptoms gradually get worse as it progresses. A loss of 15% is enough to cause death.
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6 Dehydration Symptoms to Watch For
Unfortunately, most people wait until they’re thirsty to take a drink. But the truth is that if you’re feeling thirst, you’re already in a slightly dehydrated state. Catching dehydration early is key to addressing it before it has an impact on cognitive and physical function. Luckily, there are many other signs workers and their supervisors can be on the lookout for.
1. Headaches are an early sign of potential dehydration. They are often accompanied by tiredness and light-headedness, and can be remedied within about 30 minutes by drinking a tall glass of water.
2. Urine color is one of the easiest superficial ways to assess hydration level. Clear to pale yellow urine is a sign of proper hydration. A light honey color suggests that you should re-hydrate soon, and darker yellow urine is a sign that your body needs water immediately.
3. Excessive sweating isn’t a symptom of dehydration, but it’s a sign that you are losing a lot of fluid and may be on the road to dehydration. If you’re perspiring heavily, use it as a reminder to replenish by drinking fluids.
4. Inability to focus is a key indicator that your body is running low on fluids. The brain requires sufficient hydration to run at full capacity, and those who are dehydrated may notice short-term memory lapses and poor levels of concentration and focus.
5. Bad breath is a little known, but important sign to take note of. A lack of fluids can prevent your body from making enough saliva, which can cause bacteria growth in the mouth and lead to bad breath.
6. Food cravings arise for a variety of reasons, but one might be dehydration. Dehydration can make it difficult for water-using organs, like the liver, to produce glycogen, and this can lead to cravings for food.
It’s completely possible to prevent dehydration altogether with good hydration habits. Employers play a role in helping their workers stay hydrated.
• Having water or electrolyte replacement drinks accessible at job sites.
• Offering workers reusable water bottles or hydration packs.
• Enforcing water breaks for all employees.
• Holding hydration training sessions to educate employees.
Dehydration is an issue for everyone, but knowing the signs and symptoms to watch out for is the best place to start.
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