woman dehydrated

Do You Know The Signs of Dehydration?

Every once in a while we all need some detoxification. Whether it be a full on week-long cleanse, or just the occasional good sweat, many of us derive satisfaction out of releasing chemicals from our bodies, bringing us back to the elemental purity our bodies were made in, relaxing and rejuvenating us. Of course, this process also involves losing water, but that’s par for the course. You just drink a little more of it to compensate, right?

While most of the time, our bodies replace water pretty easily, sometimes we can lose a little too much, and that can set our bodies off, because, as we know, our bodies do love their water. Dehydration happens when your body is not getting enough of the water it needs. Here are some ways to recognize and prevent the signs of dehydration.

Causes
We sweat; we breathe; we poop, we cry; we spit; we lose water, and that’s ok. We usually can get it right back by eating foods with water and drinking fluids. But, if you lose too much or don’t eat or drink enough, dehydration can occur. Unusual water loss can be caused by fever, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, and urinating a lot (diuretics can make you pee more often.)

You might not compensate for the loss because you don’t know you’re thirsty, you’re busy and forget to drink, or you don’t feel like drinking because you don’t feel good.

Symptoms
Dehydration symptoms usually include a dry mouth, thirst, muscle cramps, headaches, decreased urination, dark yellow urine, and cool, dry skin.

Symptoms of more severe dehydration include lack of urination or very dark yellow urine, dizziness, overly dry skin, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, sleepiness, confusion, irritability, sunken eyes and fainting.

Symptoms for young babies and children may be slightly different than those of adults. For example, dry diapers for three hours may be a sign, as might lack of tears when crying, sleepiness, irritability, and lack of energy, sunken cheeks and eyes, a soft spot on the top of the skull, and a dry tongue and mouth.

woman drinking water

High-Risk Groups
While anyone can be affected by dehydration, the odds are higher for some.

  • Babies and children
    Since this group is the most likely to have severe vomiting and diarrhea, they are most likely to lose water from a high fever.
  • Older Adults
    More mature adults have less water in their bodies and often are not as sensitive to thirst.
  • Sick People
    People with sore throats and colds may not feel like drinking or eating.
  • People With a Chronic Disease
    Individuals with uncontrolled diseases like type 2 diabetes can pee a lot. They may also take medicines such as water pills, which increase urination.
  • Active People
    Those who are active outdoors in humid and hot weather sometimes can’t cool down properly because their sweat fails to evaporate, leading to a higher body temperature and not enough water.

What are you doing to prevent dehydration this summer? Let us know how you’re keeping up and cooling off. We love to know!

Don't Let Motion Sickness Get You Down

Planning a getaway this summer? Maybe you’re contemplating a little cruise on the Atlantic, a cross-country car trip, or maybe your plans involve a long international plane ride. You packed some snacks, put together a CD playlist, the kids have their iPod, and you even googled travel games on the computer in case the Wi-Fi goes out. You’ve done everything you can to make sure the trip goes off without a hitch. But, as they say, it’s all fun and games, until someone gets motion sickness.

What is Motion Sickness?
Motion sickness may go right up there with deja vu when it comes to examples of the human brain working in mysterious ways. While exact causes of the sickness, known medically as ketosis, are not fully understood, most experts agree that it occurs when the brain receives conflicting messages from different parts of the body that respond to motions. The sensory confusion creates dizziness, which activates the brain’s ‘vomiting control center,’ and the result of this is probably not going to be one of the more pleasant memories from your vacation.

Symptoms
The most common symptoms of motion sickness are; a general feeling of illness, nausea, vomiting, headache and sweating. Symptoms tend to go away after the movement stops.

Different medicines thrown on top of a table.

How Is It Treated?
If you want to prepare for motion sickness, you may want to put some pharmaceuticals on your packing list. Some of these medications require a prescription and should be taken before traveling for best results. The best medicines for reduction of nausea and vomiting are:

  • Scopolamine
    This comes in the form of a patch which can be placed behind the ear
  • Antiemetic
    This reduces nausea. Examples include ondansetron, or Zofran, and prochlorperazine, or Compazine.
  • Antihistamine
    Some antihistamines, like dimenhydrinate, Dramamine, and meclizine, Antivert or Bonine, relieve nausea, but they also may cause drowsiness.

If You Find Yourself in The Throes of Motion Sickness, You May Want To Try The Following:

  • Eat some dry soda crackers
  • Drink something clear and fizzy, like ginger ale
  • Get some fresh air
  • Lie down, or try not to move your head

Avoiding Motion System
Of course prevention is the best medication. If you know you are prone to motion sickness:

  • Keep your head as still as possible
  • Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before traveling
  • Avoid eating and drinking during short trips
  • Avoid strong smells and spicy foods

Couple in a car.

In The Car
If motion sickness hits you while you’re in a car, try and sit in the front seat and avoid reading and watching TV.

In A Plane
If the plane travel triggers your motion sickness, eat small easy to digest meals before and during a long flight to reduce nausea and vomiting and request a seat near the wings.

On A Ship
Sea sickness is the most common form of seasickness. If you’re planning sea travel, your best strategy is to book a cabin near the middle of the ship near the waterline. Try and sit in the middle of the boat, get as much fresh air as possible and keep your eyes focussed on a fixed point on the horizon.

Other Methods
You may hear of the efficacy of taking powdered ginger capsules or wearing acupressure wristbands to prevent motion sickness. Although they are safe to use, there is no evidence of their helpfulness.

Do you suffer motion sickness? Let us know what you do to prevent it from turning your dream destination into a travel nightmare.

Woman relaxing in a suana

The Health Benefits of Hot and Dry Heat

You have just finished working out at the gym and you feel like crawling home.  It must have been somewhere between the 50th and 51st set of squats when your muscles just gave out.  Your legs feel like jello.    You decide that some relief is definitely in order if you have any chance of getting to your car and driving home without  requiring medical attention.  You spot the sauna. “This is just the thing,” you think.  I will sit in here, let my muscles relax  a little and I will feel like a new person!” Then you spot the steam room.  Could this be a better option?  You try and think.  What have you heard about them?  You can’t remember which one is which and think that in your condition it may just be a matter of which one is closer.  Well, just so you are prepared for when this happens to you, here’s the breakdown.

The basic difference between saunas and steam baths is that steam baths use moist heat, while saunas offer dry heat.  Both are hot baths which stimulate blood flow, easing pain and promoting healthy metabolism.

The Heat Factor
Saunas are a good deal hotter than steam rooms with the set temperature at somewhere between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and a humidity level between 5 and 30%  In other words, it’s a dry heat.  Steam rooms measure somewhere between 110 and 120 degrees but the 100% humidity will make it feel much higher.  Heat rises in both saunas and steam rooms, so the higher you sit, the hotter you will be. Wet and dry heat have a sedative effect which can provide relaxation to those suffering emotional disorder and pain relief to those suffering from a muscular injury.

The Bare Bones
Have you ever gotten on a slide in the hot weather as a child? Perhaps, then you understand why saunas are built of wood and not metal.  In addition, wood absorbs moisture, keeping surfaces cooler and pulling humidity from the air.  In steam rooms, high humidity would cause wood to deteriorate and are therefore made of tile or plastic.  They feature sloped ceilings which allow the water to run down the wall rather than drip on your head.

The Relaxation Factor
Both steam rooms and sauna reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation. They improve circulation and cause occupants to perspire, opening the pores and cleansing the skin,  The humidity of the steam rooms may be more comfortable for people suffering from allergies and congestion, whereas those with conditions that may be aggravated by humidity, like arthritis, may opt for the sauna.

The Expectoration Factor
One advantage that a steam room may have over a sauna is the expectorant effect.  Wet heat opens the sinuses throat and lungs and can loosen and clear the mucus in your nose, chest, and throat.  However, it can also aggravate asthma, which would make a sauna a better choice for asthmatics.

The Myth
You may have heard that both of these baths may remove toxins from the body and help you lose weight.  There is no evidence to support that either removes any toxic chemicals from your body and any weight loss will be temporary, resulting from water weight lost from sweating, so hanging out in the sauna or steam room will not make you svelte, which is why you still have the gym.

So which way do you stagger?  To the dry or to the wet?  The choice is yours, just pick one soon!