So, how do you know when you should drink extra water?
1. If You’re Thirsty
Thirst can be triggered by the loss of fluid in and around cells and in the blood. Thirst is your body’s way of saying you need water to avoid dehydration, which can lead to many other complications. It’s also important to note that older people often have problems with the thirst mechanism and may not feel thirsty even when they’re dehydrated.
2. If You Have Bad Breath and Dry Mouth
One potential reason for bad breath is a lack of normal saliva production. Even mild dehydration can reduce saliva flow so if your bad breath is accompanied by a dry mouth, drinking more water throughout the day may help. Keep a glass of water by your bedside for nighttime relief, too.
3. If You Can’t Think Straight
Water is essential for brain function. Studies show that a loss of only 2% of your body fluid can cause a decline in mental function, so if you’re having trouble concentrating, it may be time for water.
4. If You’re Physically Active
Increased activity can increase the amount of fluid lost when you sweat. It’s best to drink two to three cups of water before your activity begins and drink about one cup of water every 15 minutes or so while you’re active. You might need even more if you’re active in extreme temperatures.
5. If You’re in a Hot Area
Water is essential for regulating your body temperature, so if you’re outside on a hot day or stuck inside without air conditioning, you need more water as the heat causes you to sweat more. Even if you’re not active, spending the day in 90-degree temperature conditions could more than double your fluid requirement.
6. If You Have a Fever
If you’re sick with a fever, letting yourself get dehydrated will make things worse. Sip water or other fluids to keep yourself hydrated. Also, see your health care provider if the fever lasts more than two days or you have other symptoms that don’t go away.
7. If You Have Diarrhea
Diarrhea can happen for a variety of reasons, but whatever, the cause, diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Drink extra fluids while you have diarrhea, and after, to remain hydrated.
8. If You’re Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Women who are pregnant need about ten cups of fluid every day. Some women retain extra fluid during their pregnancy and have some swelling, but that doesn’t reduce the need for water. If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor about how much water you need every day. Breastmilk is mostly water, so you’ll need to drink extra water while you’re breastfeeding. The Institute of Medicine recommends all breastfeeding moms consume about 13 cups of fluids every day.