I met with a friend this weekend (a nurse) who was explaining to me that dehydration is very common, even that fuzzy wuzzzy feeling can sometimes be attributed to lack of hydration. It is true that sometimes when I notice the onset of a headache if I drink a glass of water or two the pain will subside. But I had never thought any further about this until now.
Apparently the signs for dehydration can include: a dry mouth, sleepiness or fatigue, thirst (but don’t be fooled you may not always feel thirsty), decreased wee output, headaches, dizziness and muzziness, confusion, and a lack of sweat or tears. Insufficient water can mean you have slow reaction time, with poor concentration and judgement as well as impairing all the vital functions of the organs.
It is well publicised that we all need to drink plenty of water, (around 2 litres a day, although this is under debate) but did you know that although any liquid is better than no liquid, tea and coffee and fizzy drinks actually dehydrate you more? It is best, it seems, for us to select water. Juices are good too but not in excess as too many visits to the loo can dehydrate you too. Ooo that rhymed!
Test for dehydration: The capillary nail refill test
To test to see if you may be dehydrated is simple, (it could even become a party game?) just pinch your thumb hard at the base of your thumb nail so that the nail bed goes white. 5 seconds will do, then count the number of seconds it takes for the pink colour to return. 2 or 3 seconds is fine but any longer could indicate that you are dehydrated. This test is called the capillary nail refill test.
The Skin Turgor test
The skin turgor test or the pinch test is a similar test where you are testing the turgor of your skin. Turgor is the skin’s attempt at resisting change, so if you pinch some skin on the back of your hand, your lower arm or your belly. Hold it for a few seconds and then let go forming a pinch shape. The pinch should return to it’s normal shape within 2 or 3 seconds. If this return to shape is slow, then this could indicate dehydration. With the turgor test you have to allow a little longer (up to 5 seconds) for older people.
I guess the moral of the story is, go drink some water, after all we are meant to be 65% water. That’s the first thing I did after my conversation with my friend and now I don’t have that Monday morning feeling even though it is Monday.