Seawater into drinking water

At this time of year, when the days are long and the sun is high in the sky, keeping hydrated when out in the woods can be particularly difficult. In this blog, we’re going to look at what dehydration is and how to prevent it. We’re also going to look at what to do what you haven’t been able to prevent dehydration; how to recognise the signs and how to treat it.

 


What is dehydration?

Learn about dehydration and how to prevent it

Simply put, dehydration is losing more fluids than you can take in.  Water makes up at least two-thirds of our body, it plays a vital role in keeping our organs and therefore bodies functioning. Dehydration, losing more water than your body can take in, impacts on your body’s ability to function.  While mild dehydration can be pretty easily treated more severe dehydration can very quickly become life-threatening and may require immediate medical treatment. The key to ensuring that mild dehydration does not become anything more severe is in recognising the signs of dehydration. 

 

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Signs of dehydration 

Prevent dehydration with these tips
When out on the trail, backpacking or practicing bushcraft it can be easy to neglect one’s water intake and become dehydrated. That’s why it is important to keep an eye out for the following signs of dehydration – not just for yourself but for those in your group as well.  
With that in mind here are the following signs of dehydration.

 

  • Feeling thirsty
    This is a great indication of when you should drink. While some schools of thought might advocate only drinking at certain times not drinking when your thirsty may impact on your decision-making abilities. Therefore it is better to drink when thirsty rather than risk making a situation worse.
  • Dark yellow or strong smelling urine
    This is one of the best indicators of dehydration. Every time you go to the bathroom check the colour of your pee. If it is dark yellow or strong smelling then drink some water immediately after going to the bathroom.  If you are peeing little and not many times per day then this can also be a sign of dehydration.
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
    This is a warning sign of dehydration. If you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded then sit down immediately and drink water. In reality, though you shouldn’t ever let it get to this stage. By drinking water regularly and when thirsty you should avoid any feelings of lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • Dryness of mouth and lips
    Dryness of mouth and lips is a key indicator of dehydration. Once again though it is better not to let it get to this point by ensuring that you are drinking regularly and whenever you are thirsty.

There are certain activities and/or conditions which can make you more susceptible to dehydration. These include, but are not limited to drinking too much alcohol; being out in the sun for too long, illness – such as vomiting or diarrhea. Diabetes can also make you more susceptible to dehydration.  

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How to treat dehydration

Prevent dehydration with these tips

Treating dehydration begins with prevention. Taking certain steps to avoid becoming dehydrated in the first place is the best means of treating it, as they say, ‘prevention is better than the cure’.

When you’re out in the woods it is important to either be carrying in enough water to sustain you or to be sure that there are nearby sources of water which you will be able to access. To find out more about how to source and purify water take a look at our blog post here.

If you have underestimated the availability of water in your location or on your walk and yourself or members of your party have become dehydrated then there are a few steps that you can take to treat it. Remember though, if signs of severe dehydration are present then ensure that the casualty receives professional medical treatment as soon as possible.

The best way to treat dehydration is to rehydrate the casualty. Ensure that the person suffering from dehydration takes onboard plenty of water, sweet, water-based drinks, such as squash can also help the casualty to replace lost sugars. Salty snacks can also help to replace lost salts.

 

Kit

Here is a run through of some of our favourite kit, at Wildway we often take this kit out with us in the woods.  

Further reading

Use the arrows below to navigate these related blogs.

LEARN HOW TO USE AN AXE, BUILD SHELTERS, LIGHT FIRES AND MORE ON OUR IOL ACCREDITED WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

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