Every day, hundreds of people suffer from dehydration while out floating. Why do so many people suffer from this easy to treat affliction? Oftentimes, the answer is simply because they didn’t know how to prevent and treat dehydration.
As they say, don’t let yourself be another statistic. As someone who has suffered from bad dehydration before, I can assure you, it is not something you want to experience. How do you prevent it though? And how do you treat it? What are the symptoms of dehydration? All this, and more, will be explained below in three sections.
SECTION I: SYMPTOMS
Symptoms. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “symptom” as: subjective evidence of disease or physical disturbance. Can’t really make it any clearer than that. Symptoms are your body’s way of showing you something is wrong, such as how you get a runny nose when you have a cold. Now, onto the important matter at hand, how do you know when your body is telling you it is dehydrated? Well, you will become very weak, and it will feel very hot outside, even if it is not that hot out. On top of that, you will start getting bad headaches, and if left untreated long enough, you will pass out.
SECTION II: PREVENTING
Those symptoms sound terrible! There has to be some way to prevent all of those bad things from happening, right? There is! The way to prevent dehydration is by drinking water. Depending on your body size, you should drink around one gallon of water every day, two gallons if you are going to be out in the sun all day. One problem people have while on float trips, is that they pack a lot of drinks besides water. If you drink one can of soda or alcohol while on a float trip, you have to drink two bottles of water to keep from dehydrating yourself. How do you know if you still aren’t drinking enough to keep from being dehydrated? You will be very thirsty and your urine will turn very yellow. If you are right on the edge of being dehydrated, your urine could even be brown.
SECTION III: TREATING
So, you have learned the symptoms of dehydration and how to prevent it. But how do you treat it, and more specifically, how do you treat it while on a float trip? If you notice that you or someone with you is displaying the symptoms of dehydration, bring that person to shore, and have him or her sit in the shade. Take a shirt, or another piece of cloth, and get it wet in the cool river water. Wring it out, so it is just cool and damp, and put it over the dehydrated persons head, this will help keep their body cool while they are unable to produce sweat to cool themselves. Next, hand them a bottle of water so they can SLOWLY SIP from it. If they drink the water quickly, they will throw-up and get even more dehydrated. Once they are cool and hydrated enough that they can sweat and move around a little, let them drink one more bottle of water, and give them any fruit you may have with you that is high in water, watermelon for example, and have them slowly eat it. After you do all that, they should be tired, but ok. If they are still not ok after all that, seek medical attention immediately. For they could be suffering from something much worse than dehydration.
And there you have it, you now know the ins and out of dehydration and its prevention and treatment. Should a situation ever arise where you need to use these skills, remain calm, and focus on doing what needs to be done, instead of worrying and scaring the dehydration victim. Those are all the dehydration tips I have for you, good luck, and happy floating!