Dehydration

Dehydration poses a serious threat to campers and hikers because they can get lost, with only limited supplies. Unfortunately, not many people give it much thought. The truth is, it's very dangerous, particularly because emergency help is far away.

The human body needs fluids and without them, you will perish. Dehydration is a life-threatening condition in which the body suffers from severe loss of fluids. It can occur anywhere, whether it's hot or cold outside. It's important for camper and hikers to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Sometimes, it can occur when you're not even aware of it.

Causes

Dehydration is caused by a variety of reasons. Some causes include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, excessive sweating, or overeating. However, the most common cause is simply lack of fluid intake. Because thirst is not always a symptom of dehydration, it's vital to drink plenty of fluids when out in the wilderness, whether you're thirsty or not.

When participating in strenuous activities, such as hiking or biking, take frequent rest stops. The warmer the weather, the more you will sweat. The more fluid you lose, the greater risk you have of becoming dehydrated. Obviously, you should greatly limit vigorous sports in hot weather.

Symptoms

Learn the symptoms of dehydration. After about two percent of one's water volume is lost, you begin to feel fatigue, weakness, discomfort, and low endurance. The severity increases as fluid depletion rises. A person will experience extreme headaches, sleepiness, tingling, dimmed vision, and painful urination after about five percent of your body's water level is lost.

When the water loss rises to fifteen percent, the result is usually death. Other symptoms include delirium, fainting, confusion, and muscle weakness. The victim's skin will feel cold and clammy. Not pleasant at all.

Treatment

If you begin to feel dehydrated, try to get yourself out of the situation, fast. If you're outside, move indoors, preferably in a controlled environment to regulate temperatures. In mild cases, water loss can be reversed by drinking water, a sports drink, or what's on hand. Otherwise, seek immediate medical attention where you can be given an IV to quickly restore your body fluids. If your companion is dehydrated and stops breathing, perform mouth to mouth resuscitation and call 911.

This information is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Use this guide at your own risk and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach of us more than we can ever learn from books.” - John Lubbock