Cold Weather

Winter Dehydration: Why Your Dehydration Risk Increases in the Cold

You may associate the need to hydrate regularly with hot weather or working out in high temperatures. However, it’s just as important to pay attention to your hydration status when the temperatures drop. Dehydration can occur in cold weather, and some research shows the risk of dehydration actually increases in winter. In fact, winter dehydration is more common than you may think — it’s exacerbated by warm clothing and cold and flu season.

Here, we’ll show you how winter dehydration develops, including how sweat and your body’s thirst response are affected by cold temperatures and can raise the risk of dehydration. You’ll learn how to spot warning signs of dehydration and discover how tools such as an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS can help. DripDrop ORS features cold-weather flavors made to be enjoyed hot, and offers medically relevant electrolytes to combat dehydration that occurs in the winter.

What Is Dehydration?

winter dehydration: EMTs tending to a patient in the snow while waiting for the rescue chopper to arrive

Dehydration is a condition where your body loses more fluids and electrolytes than it takes in. It’s about more than not drinking water adequately. Fluids in and around your cells play a key role in everything from hydration to regulating core temperature. This fluid is made up of water and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These minerals work to bulk up blood volume and help send signals from your brain to various organs as well as control muscle movement.

So what causes dehydration? Generally, the main causes of dehydration are sweating, illnesses, and not drinking enough fluids or electrolytes. In addition, certain medications such as diuretics — which increase urination — and medical conditions that affect the kidneys can heighten the risk of dehydration. During the winter months, the cold temperatures can increase fluid loss through water vapor and decrease thirst response, leading to a greater risk of dehydration.

When you don’t get enough water or electrolytes dehydration sets in. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, and lethargy. In addition, you may experience lightheadedness and fatigue as well as extreme thirst, constipation, dry skin, and dry mouth. Severe dehydration can cause confusion, irritability, and even a coma.

When you recognize the signs of dehydration, it’s important to take action quickly. Reach for an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS to replenish fluid loss and manage dehydration. DripDrop ORS is a fast, low-cost, proven alternative to IV therapy for managing mild to moderate dehydration.

4 Factors That Increase Winter Dehydration Risk

winter dehydration: Construction workers working amid snowfall

While most of us are familiar with how dehydration occurs in the summer months, our knowledge of winter dehydration is often lacking. That’s an issue because there are several factors in winter that can actually make dehydration more problematic. Here, we’ll show you how winter dehydration can occur and why we often miss the signs of dehydration in wintertime.

Factor 1: Decreased Thirst Response

Your body has natural mechanisms that trigger a thirst response when you’re running low on water or electrolytes. Here’s how that works under normal conditions: When you lose water, your blood volume decreases, and the sodium concentration of your blood increases. These two changes send signals to your brain to produce the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin.

This hormone signals your kidneys to retain water rather than release it in urine — helping to increase fluid volume to normal levels. At the same time, the hormone triggers a thirst sensation, encouraging you to drink more fluids to restore hydration levels.

In wintertime, cold weather makes these mechanisms less effective. In fact, studies show your thirst response can decrease by up to 40% in cold temperatures. Here’s why: When it’s cold outside, your blood vessels constrict and pull blood and fluid inwards to your organs in order to maintain your core temperature. It’s why your fingers and other extremities feel like they’re freezing when the temperatures plummet and you’re outdoors.

At the same time, your brain detects increased blood volume — at your core — and so it doesn’t trigger the increased production of vasopressin, even if you’re dehydrated. Essentially, your brain is tricked into thinking it’s not dehydrated, so it prioritizes maintaining core temperature and doesn’t address hydration changes. In addition, some research shows that mild hypothermia can lead to cold-induced diuresis — an increase in urination that can further deplete hydration stores.

This means you may feel less thirsty in the winter and thus not drink enough water and electrolytes to avoid dehydration. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep DripDrop ORS on hand and drink it throughout the day.

Factor 2: Warm Layers and Increased Sweat

Cold-weather clothing can also affect your hydration status. Warm clothing — like long underwear and heavy jackets— increase sweating, which can lead to dehydration if fluids and electrolytes aren’t replaced quickly. To make matters worse, winter clothing is often not breathable since fabrics are often also waterproof. That means any heat trapped inside your jacket or snow pants drastically increases your body temperature and how much you sweat.

In addition, sweat evaporates more quickly in dry air that is characteristic of cold temperatures. Because you’re so bundled up, you may not even notice you’re sweating, making it more difficult to remember to hydrate.

The heaviness of winter clothing makes your body work harder and exert more metabolic effort when moving. Just think about how much more effort you exert trudging down a snowy street in a huge parka and heavy winter boots compared to shorts and flip flops in the summertime. This increased exertion and sweating — caused by the effort and due to the heat these clothes trap inside — can increase the risk of dehydration.

Factor 3: Respiratory Water Loss

One of the hallmarks of winter weather is seeing your breath on cold days. That mist is actually another form of water loss that can cause dehydration in winter. When you breathe warm, moist air from your lungs into the dry, cold air, the temperature and humidity cause the water vapor to turn into a liquid. This causes those tiny misty drops you see and also leads you to lose water with each breath.

This becomes problematic if you're exercising or working outside in cold temperatures. The more you exert yourself, the more respiratory water loss increases. If you work outdoors in the wintertime, you may be at higher risk of dehydration. Keep packets of DripDrop ORS on hand so you can rehydrate during lunch and water breaks.

Factor 4: Cold and Flu Infections

It’s no secret that cooler temperatures bring a higher rate of infections from viruses like the common cold and flu. Many of these illnesses — including the flu, coronaviruses, bacterial infections, and COVID 19 — cause fever that can lead to dehydration. When you have a fever, your body’s natural response is to increase your temperature to fight the infection. This increases sweating, resulting in fluid loss and potential dehydration.

To make things worse, many infections also cause gastrointestinal upset inducing vomiting and diarrhea. This is another way your body rapidly loses vital fluids and electrolytes, significantly increasing the risk of dehydration. These cold and flu symptoms also make it more difficult to drink fluids and restore hydration.

How To Manage Winter Dehydration

Man holding a tumbler full of DripDrop ORS outdoors

For cases of mild to moderate dehydration that occur in winter, DripDrop ORS is a fast, effective, and great tasting remedy. Its convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop ORS on hand when you need it, whether you’re working outdoors at the job site or on the top of a mountain.

DripDrop ORS was developed by a doctor on a mission to defeat life-threatening dehydration. The patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, improving on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards because of its delicious taste. The result is a medically viable ORS that also tastes great. It’s preferred over sports drinks, which have about one-third the electrolytes of DripDrop ORS and twice as much sugar.

DripDrop ORS comes in several great flavors, including flavors for winter weather. Try our Spiced Apple Cider or Honey Lemon Ginger flavors for classic winter tastes or reach for our Decaf Green Tea or Hibiscus to stay hydrated and warm all winter long. Mixed with water, it can help manage dehydration, even when temperatures plummet.

Alleviate Dehydration With DripDrop ORS

A bottle full of DripDrop ORS in the snow

Now that you know how winter dehydration can pose a risk to your wellbeing, you can create a dehydration protocol to tackle mild to moderate cases of dehydration. With DripDrop ORS, you can manage dehydration anytime, anywhere thanks to its medically relevant electrolytes, fast action, and great taste.

Remember, when you're in a state of dehydration — especially in wintertime — you can’t just drink water. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption. With the precisely balanced ratio of DripDrop ORS, you can replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. Plus, DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential to support your overall health and wellness.

Medical-grade DripDrop ORS allows you to alleviate mild to moderate dehydration and is a viable alternative to costly and painful IV therapy. Our patented formula is powerful enough to help patients suffering from dehydration caused by Ebola and cholera but safe enough for everyday use. Plus, DripDrop ORS tastes amazing and comes in a variety of flavors you can enjoy hot or cold.

Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast. Or, if you're ready to make a purchase and you're a first-time buyer, enjoy 15% off your order with code: FIRST15.

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