Dehydration: An Overlooked Threat to Survival


( – Tracking your daily water intake can be difficult. Keeping tabs on how much water you drink might seem like an unnecessary chore to some, but it’s more important than many realize.

Staying hydrated is essential to good health. Dehydration can lead to chronic discomfort, health problems, and even organ damage. In a survival situation, failing to stay properly hydrated can lead to dire consequences in the short term.

Symptoms of Dehydration

When the body isn’t receiving enough water, it sends warning signals that shouldn’t be ignored. According to, the following symptoms develop when dehydration is setting in:

  • Fatigue
  • Decrease in urination and/or dark urine
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, and headache
  • Dry skin
  • Dry mouth and increased thirst

In cases of extreme dehydration, the symptoms become more severe, including a lack of sweat, rapid breathing/heartbeat, low blood pressure, and shriveling skin.

Complications From Dehydration

Once the body goes from minor dehydration to severe, some unpleasant side effects can manifest.

  • Heatstroke
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat Cramps
  • Loss of electrolytes leading to seizures
  • Kidney failure
  • Coma

In a true survival situation, any of these conditions could be potentially fatal — especially if accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea. These conditions will make the body lose water at a faster rate putting you in even greater danger.

How to Rehydrate

When facing dehydration, you need to get water back into your system and fast. This can be done by drinking water or sports drinks that contain electrolytes. Pedialyte is another option to quickly rehydrate your system. In a pinch, mixing six teaspoons of sugar with a half teaspoon of salt and a liter of water will create a rehydration drink to help the process along (if you don’t have access to electrolyte drinks).

Unfortunately, if extreme vomiting or diarrhea is hampering your rehydration progress, you will likely require an intravenous (IV) solution from medical professionals.

The Importance of Proper Hydration

The best way to prepare for any emergency is to ensure your body is healthy before the event. This includes staying hydrated. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should consume an average of 125 ounces of water a day (about 3.7 liters), and women should drink 91 ounces (about 2.7 liters) each day.

Consuming the correct amount of water each day is vital to your survival. In fact, according to the survivalist’s rule of three, without water, you can face death in only three days. If you are in a survival situation, that number could shrink dramatically if you were dehydrated to begin with.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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