Summer is heating up everywhere this year, from heat waves on the West Coast all the way to the East. And, who are we kidding, it’s always hot at the end of the summer in Florida.

In addition to sunburn on your head, neck, and body, dehydration and heat exhaustion are serious threats to summertime fun. Dehydration occurs when the body doesn’t have enough fluid to function normally. We lose water every day by sweating, exhaling or speaking, and using the bathroom. Water intake comes in the form of drinking, of course, but there’s also quite a bit of water in many foods, especially fresh fruits and veggies.

Exposure to the sun’s heat can cause adults and children both to become dehydrated. Exercise, some illnesses such as diabetes, and symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea increase the risk of dehydration.

Some signs of dehydration include weakness, dizziness, heart palpitations, headache, fainting, and the inability to urinate or sweat. You may also find that your mouth and throat are very dry and the mucus inside the nose is sticky or dry.

If you or a loved one exhibit a fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit, vomiting for more than 24 hours, diarrhea for more than 48 hours, or severe weakness or confusion, you should seek your doctor’s help. If he or she experiences a fever above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, fainting, chest or abdominal pain, or lack of urine for 24 hours, head to the emergency room.

If dehydration isn’t severe, home treatment may be sufficient. Start by sipping small amounts of water (don’t chug or gulp), sucking ice chips or fruit popsicles, and sitting or lying down in an air conditioned or shaded spot. It’s important to cool down slowly.

Drinking water is the easiest way to avoid dehydration. Being mindful of the body’s signals, such as a slight headache or muscle weakness, can let you know you’re slightly dehydrated and catch it before it gets worse.

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