Signs and Symptoms of Water Dehydration
by Ian M. Larson PT, DPT Cert. DN, CCI

The extreme heat is upon us, and it’s a great time for us Phoenicians to remember to keep water with us wherever we go – work, gym, errands, etc. Water dehydration is very serious, yet many of us do not hydrate enough to counter the negative effects of our extreme summers.  Water dehydration is a deficiency of water that can lead to impairments in daily function and overall health issues over time.

The basic grading of water loss from the human body is defined as follows:

1-3% is considered a mild loss of water from the body (headache/ increased thirst)

5-8% is considered a moderate loss of water from the body (feverish/ increased irritability)

10-15% is considered extreme loss of water from the body (delirium/unconsciousness can result)

Signs and symptoms of water dehydration in adults are:

Increased thirst (comes first)


Decreased urine output

Muscle cramping


Signs and symptoms of water dehydration in children are:

Very dry skin

Rapid breathing

Sunken eyes


Lack of energy

So, how much water should you be drinking in Phoenix during summer time? Most individuals believe that if they just drink 8 cups of water a day they will be fine. According to the Mayo Clinic, the standard “8 cups of water a day is not enough for individuals living in Arizona.” Men should be drinking 13 cups (3 Liters) and women should be drinking 9 cups (2.2 liters). Furthermore, it usually takes 30-60 minutes to rehydrate when you are mildly dehydrated.

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