In this fast-paced world when most people want to accomplish multiple tasks at a given day, paying attention to good health tends to take the backseat. The recent scare involving former US President Jimmy Carter, experiencing a bout of dehydration, cast attention on the importance of always staying hydrated.

Ensuring that the body does not become out-of-balance and go haywire necessitates being mindful of what we need to ingest. Health experts have continually stressed that the body needs about two to three liters of water each day (in temperate climate) to stay in optimum condition.

Encountering bouts with dehydration

Dehydration can affect people of all ages. In the case of former US Head of State Jimmy Carter, working hard in an international location to carry out humanitarian work -- an annual home building blitz organized by Habitat for Humanity took its toll. He had spent over an hour on the steps of a house with a drill when he moved unsteadily and slumped on a chair.

At 92, the former US President has gone through some harrowing life experiences, including melanoma. A couple of years ago, he had announced he was entrusting everything to God’s hands. Then and now, former President Carter bounced back. Not all people may be as lucky in overcoming dehydration, especially if the telltale signs are overlooked.

Individuals at risk

Among those vulnerable to becoming dehydrated are kids and the elderly. Individuals grappling with chronic illnesses, as well as athletes exposed to hot, humid weather and people dwelling in high altitudes are also at high risk.

Among the signs of a dehydrated state are extreme thirst, dry mouth, headache, constipation, fatigue, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, nausea, numbness and tingling.

Many people tend to dismiss becoming dehydrated as a minor health issue, and in so doing imperil themselves more.

Replenishing lost fluids at the onset of the signs and symptoms of becoming dehydrated is crucial. When outdoors, it is imperative to transfer to a cooler spot with a shade and drink lots of water or even a sports beverage to restore electrolytes.

A sports drink like Gatorade may not be recommended, though, when there is immediate need to replace lost fluids due to dehydration in ill children. As for the elderly who may be quite susceptible to becoming dehydrated, continuously drinking little amounts throughout the day, rather than taking one big gulp, is ideal.