Doctors and health care professionals recommend staying hydrated when you are sick, but can drinking too much water be dangerous for your health? When you are suffering from an illness or infection, the best thing you can do is drink plenty of water. But in rare cases it is possible to develop a potentially fatal form of water intoxication. A well-documented case of water intoxication occurred when a middle aged female suffering from a recurring urinary tract infection, was admitted to a local hospital after experiencing a list of symptoms which included speech difficulties and vomiting. Testing revealed that the patient had hyponatremia, a medical condition that occurs when the sodium levels found in a person’s blood are critically low due to excessive consumption of fluids. The woman admitted to drinking several gallons of water in short succession in an attempt to flush out her system to self-treat her infection.
Hyponatremia Causes, Symptoms, Correction & Treatment
For most people the term hyponatremia is often associated with endurance athletes such as marathon runners and triathletes who are sweating and drinking water in copious amounts for lengthy periods of time in close succession. Doctors and health professionals all agree that water intoxication is extremely rare for people performing every day activities even when suffering from a virus or other common illness, especially in the cases of individuals who have normal functioning kidneys.
Benefits of Staying Hydrated
When you are sick you lose more fluids from body functions including sweating, vomiting and diarrhea plus your metabolism will increase as your body fights off the infection. The bottom line – you need more water to stay hydrated and keep your fluid levels properly balanced. According to medical professionals, receiving inadequate amounts of fluids can impede your body’s ability to fight off your infection. In fact many people suffering with the common cold or influenza virus will experience subtle signs of dehydration including dry skin, headaches, dry lips, fatigue and decreased urination. Doctors however caution that the term “flushing out an illness” should not be taken in a literal sense. Drinking fluids when you are sick will enable your body to balance electrolytes and has little to do with treating the actual infection. There are some illnesses that can increase the amount of antidiuretic hormones in your system which will reduce the amount of liquid that your body excretes. It is important to listen to the advice of your health care professional when it comes to regulating the amount of fluids you should consume.
How Much Water Should You Drink With a Fever or When Sick
As a general rule, doctors recommend aiming for at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day when healthy and increasing this amount when you are fighting of an infection or not feeling well. According to extensive research the eight glasses of water a day recommendation should be used strictly as a base line as each person’s consumption will differ depending on individual activity levels. Doctors agree that practicing good judgement and listening to your body is the best advice when it comes to ensuring your body receives exactly what it needs in terms of hydration to aid in the overall healing process. Your focus should be on maintaining your regular fluid intake by replacing lost fluids at a steady and consistent rate whether you are sick or healthy.