Consider the possibility that the taps were turned off tomorrow, that the rivers and streams were dried up, and that the oceans were transformed into arid valleys. What would you do if this happened to you? And, maybe more significantly, how long would survive without water?
There is no accurate way to determine how quickly a person might perish from dehydration. There are a variety of survival blogs that claim that the average human can survive without water for anywhere from two days to a week, but this is only an approximate estimate at best. The health of a person, the weather, and the quantity of physical activity that person engages in all contribute to determining how long a person can survive without water. According to the Mayo Clinic, those over the age of 65, children, people with chronic conditions, and anyone who work or exercise outside are at increased risk of dehydration and should drink enough of fluids.
When it’s extremely hot outside, “an adult can lose between 1 and 1.5 litres [2.1 to 3.2 pints] of perspiration per hour,” according to Randall Packer, a scientist at George Washington University in Washington, DC, who wrote for Scientific American about his findings. “A child left in a hot car or an athlete who works out hard in hot weather can dehydrate, overheat, and die in a matter of hours,” says the National Safety Council.
Usually, when a person becomes dehydrated to the point of becoming ill, they are also suffering from overheating, which means that the internal temperature of the body has risen too high.
The opposite is true, according to Dr. Kurt Dickson, an emergency-medicine specialist at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Arizona. “This isn’t always the case, especially among certain categories of patients,” he said. He warned that very small children and older adults suffering from dementia would not remember to drink water or may not be able to acquire water for themselves without assistance.
So, how much water does a person have to lose before they begin to suffer from acute dehydration? Serious dehydration is considered to have occurred when a person loses around 10% of their entire weight due to water loss, according to National Health Service standards published in 2009 in the United Kingdom – albeit this measurement is too difficult to utilise in reality.
Although dehydration can occur much more quickly on a hot day than is often believed, up to 1.5 litres of water loss per hour on a hot day can cause that kind of dehydration.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, once a person’s water levels fall below a healthy level, they will experience the following symptoms: thirst, dry skin, weariness, light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, dry mouth, and rapid pulse and respiration. Children that are dehydrated weep without shedding tears. Their eyes, cheeks, and tummies get sunken; they become listless; and when they are pinched and released, their skin does not smooth out as it should.
In an interview with Live Science, Dickson described how patients arrive at the emergency room “feeling exhausted, tired, occasionally dizzy — more so when they get up — [and] sometimes vomiting.” They can go into shock if the dehydration is severe enough, causing them to become chilly and clammy while remaining unresponsive. It’s also possible that they’re just not feeling well, suffering from a general malaise.”
Dickson pointed out that these symptoms might be caused by a variety of other illnesses, thus it is not always evident that dehydration is to blame. “You have to eliminate out other possibilities,” he explained. In the case of the roofer, given it’s July in Phoenix, you can cut out a lot of the extraneous details.
The National Kidney Foundation’s Dr. Jeffrey Berns told The Washington Post in 2014 that as water levels in the body decline, the water is diverted to fill essential organs with blood, causing cells throughout the body to shrivel. Dr. Berns was then the president-elect of the National Kidney Foundation. Berns said that as water leaks out of brain cells, the brain contracts and blood vessels within the cranium can burst, resulting in a stroke.
According to Berns, the kidneys are frequently the first organ to fail among the organs because they stop filtering waste out of the dwindling blood supply. After that, the other organs begin to collapse as a result of a toxic cascade. It’s a painful process, but it’s one that’s usually rather straightforward to remedy.
According to Dickson, rehydrating and replenishing electrolytes are the most important factors. That is exactly what your body requires in order to remain stable.