Severe dehydration can cause life-threatening problems. Even mild dehydration can be serious, if you’re doing something like climbing or skiing or rescuing injured people. Your body and skin will tell you if you have enough fluids and you could really end up hurting yourself by ignoring it.

Several factors contribute to dehydration, such as rigorous exercise, exposure to hot weather, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, significant injuries or sores, and excessive sweating.

1. Extreme thirst. The most obvious sign, but one that needs to be taken seriously. Your body is craving fluids because it doesn’t have enough fluids to function on a normal basis.

2. Dehydrated skin in dry weather. In various stages of dehydration, there isn’t enough blood volume and that’s when dry skin occurs. Also, the skin is dry and not evaporating as well, and flushing of the skin will happen.

3. Decreasing electrolytes can lead to muscle cramps. When muscles work harder, they can absorb the heat itself. Changes in electrolytes, sodium and potassium may lead to muscle cramping.

4. Dry eyes or blurred vision is a symptom of dehydration. If you’ve been exercising for a prolonged period of time, your overall body fluids decrease, which may result in dry eyes or blurred vision. Since liquids are also in your eyes, dehydration will result in less protection for them.

5. Dehydration-caused headache. The brain is situated inside a fluid sack that prevents it from hitting against the skull. When the sack lacks fluid due to dehydration, the brain can push up against parts of the skull, which can cause headaches.

6. Dehydration can cause fever and chills. Although your body is severely dehydrated due to being overheated, you may experience symptoms of fever or chills. If your fever reaches more than 101°F, it’s recommended that you seek medical attention.

7. Check for well-hydrated urine. Light-colored urine that is straw-colored or a light yellow means you’re well-hydrated. Dark yellow or brown urine means you don’t have enough fluids in your system and need to stop any strenuous physical activity immediately.

Dehydration has the potential to be a life-threatening condition if not properly addressed. If you or someone around you becomes mildly to moderately dehydrated, stop activity immediately and rest. Seek shade. Remove unnecessary clothing and drink some water or a sports drink. For severe dehydration, seek medical help.

We’re outdoors with you! Subscribe to our newsletter using the field below or on the home page and never miss our gear reviews, videos and other tips like this.