Spring has finally arrived! It’s time for you and your family to get outside for some much needed sunshine and exercise. It’s also a time to remind yourself how to keep your family safe and hydrated this season.

While it might seem simple enough, making sure to drink enough water can take a back seat when you are enjoying a fun activity. Before you begin your summer entertainment, take a moment to learn more about dehydration:

What is dehydration and how does it happen?

Dehydration occurs when your body loses too much water. This can happen from simply sweating or exercising too much, especially in hot weather. It can also happen when you are sick and have diarrhea or vomiting. If not treated immediately, the body can struggle to get blood to organs, which can be life-threatening.

Anyone can get dehydrated, but it is most dangerous for babies, small children and older adults.

What are symptoms of dehydration?

Simply having dry mouth, increased thirst, and less urine can be early signs of dehydration. But symptoms can become more severe if not treated early. It can lead to weakness, dizziness, confusion and even fainting.

What should I do if someone seems to be dehydrated?

If you think you or someone might be dehydrated, stop your activity, find shade, and rest. Start to drink water, juice or a sports drink to replace the lost fluids. Also, remove any unnecessary layers of clothing. Make sure to rest for about a day while continuing to drink fluids.

For babies, start increasing breast-feeding. For small children, ensure they are drinking frequent, small amounts of fluids, but still have as much as they want. Babies and children could also benefit from an oral rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte. Consult your doctor for the recommended dose if your child is under one year old.

If symptoms don’t seem to improve, or get worse, call your doctor right away.

How can I prevent dehydration?

To ensure you have a safe and hydrated summer, take time to drink plenty of water before, during, and after you are active. This is especially important on hot days. Also, avoid high-protein diets as well as alcohol. Lastly, make sure to dress appropriately for the weather and listen to your body when you should rest.

Learn more about how what you eat and drink affect your body with these articles: