The level of humidity in the air during the winter months tends to be much lower, resulting in much drier air as compared to other times of the year. In addition, the air in our homes is also drier due to home heating. These differences in air quality both inside and outside can increase our chances of becoming dehydrated.
Other factors that can lead to dehydration in the winter include:
- Cold-induced diuresis (frequent urination)
- Drinking less water because we tend to feel less thirsty
- Wearing heavier clothing which can cause us to perspire more
- Increased respiratory rates which leads to greater water loss
It is important that we stay hydrated in winter because doing so helps keep our body temperature at a constant and normal level. When there isn’t enough fluid in the body, this can cause the core temperature to drop to dangerous levels. Hypothermia can set in quicker if the body is dehydrated. Staying hydrated is also helps our immune system fight off colds and the flu, which are more common in the winter.
Things to avoid in cold weather to prevent dehydration include caffeinated beverages and alcoholic beverages. It is also recommended that you don’t drink cold beverages, but rather warm or room temperature beverages because this will lead to more frequent urination.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration to look out for include:
- Severe thirst
- Reduced urine output
- Dark urine for long periods of time
- A rapid heart rate
- Muscle cramps
If you have any signs of dehydration during the winter months, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.