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7
Dehydration

In some parts of the world, water is scarce for thousands of square miles.

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Dehydration can strike in any kind of weather. It simply means you aren't supplying your body with enough water. It's dangerous no matter where it hits you, but comes on quicker in hot conditions because you're losing lots of water through perspiration. In fact, if you're caught in severe heat with no water, dehydration can set in within one hour.

Besides sweat, you also lose water through your feces, urine and even breathing. Every cell and organ in your body needs water to function. With mild dehydration, you'll experience the following:

  • lack of saliva
  • decreased frequency of urine
  • decreased output of urine
  • deep color and strong odor in urine

Moderate dehydration:

  • even less urine
  • dry mouth
  • dry and sunken eyes
  • rapid heartbeat

Severe dehydration:

  • no urine
  • lethargy and irritability
  • vomiting and diarrhea

The final stages of dehydration are shock and then death. If you're in reasonably good shape and you aren't stranded in severe heat, you may be able to survive for three to five days without water. But your body needs as many ounces of water as half your body weight each day to keep chugging. If you weigh 200 pounds (90.7 kilgrams), then you should take in at least 100 ounces (2.8 kilograms), or 12 and a half cups of water each day.

To treat dehydration, drink water and avoid soda, tea or anything with caffeine -- these will only increase your urine output and slow down your body's rehydration process.

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