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Why drink water? I'm not thirsty

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Unfortunately, thirst isn't always a reliable gauge of the body's need for water, especially in children and older adults. As crude as it sounds, a better barometer is the color of your urine: clear or light-colored urine means you're well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration. If you wait until you are thirsty, chances are you are letting your body slip into a mild state of dehydration.

dehydrated

Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness - children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output - fewer than six wet diapers a day for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
  • Lack of sweating
  • Little or no urination - any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn't "bounce back" when pinched into a fold
  • In infants, sunken fontanels - the soft spots on the top of a baby's head
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fever
  • In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness

Water is essential to human life: It forms the basis for all body fluids, including blood and digestive juices; it aids in the transportation and absorption of nutrients; and it helps eliminate waste. If you're an average adult, every day you lose more than 10 cups (close to 2.5 liters) of water simply by sweating, breathing and eliminating waste. You also lose electrolytes - minerals such as sodium, potassium and calcium that maintain the balance of fluids in your body.

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