Last month, an Indiana family endured a tragic loss. Ashley Summers, a mother of two, died from drinking too much water during a summer boating trip, according to her brother Devon Miller.

Miller explained on Facebook that his sister got dehydrated while boating over the 4th of July weekend. To rehydrate, she drank 4 water bottles in under 30 minutes on that Tuesday. This excessive water intake caused her brain tissue to start swelling rapidly. By that evening, Ashley was unconscious in the hospital. Tragically, she never woke up again.

After his sister’s death, Miller shared an important warning. He cautioned others to carefully monitor their water intake with the extreme summer heat. If you feel like you can’t quench your thirst, try drinking a sports drink like Gatorade. These help replenish electrolytes.

Ashley’s tragic passing has raised concerns about water toxicity. People want to know how to prevent it. They also wonder how much water is dangerous and what to do if severe dehydration is suspected.

Water toxicity is uncommon, but it does happen, according to Dr. Steven Aks, an emergency physician and toxicology chief at Cook County Health. He said cases have involved people with psychiatric conditions or who took stimulants at electronic dance festivals, lowering sodium levels.

When you drink a lot of water quickly, it can dilute sodium in the body. This causes hyponatremia – abnormally low sodium. Aks explained, “It’s very dangerous. Basic functions can’t work if sodium gets too low.”

The Cleveland Clinic notes hyponatremia can cause “confusion, seizures, and coma.” Other signs include:

  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Mental status changes

To prevent toxicity and dehydration, take frequent water breaks and drink electrolyte solutions like Gatorade. Eat electrolyte-rich foods too. Aks said drinking steadily during activities in the sun can keep you hydrated without overdoing it.

There’s no one-size-fits-all water recommendation. “Pay attention to your body,” Aks advised. “Drink more if you’ll be active in heat. Six to eight glasses daily is reasonable for most adults, but it varies by size, weight, and health.” Women and children are more prone to hyponatremia.

If you feel dizzy, get dry mouth, or lose energy during activity, drink more water. But if someone seems confused and might have severe dehydration or toxicity, seek medical help.

Aks said, “If you’re exhausted, lightheaded, or feel like passing out, get attention.”

With summer not over, Aks stressed watching for dehydration signs and staying hydrated wisely. He said, “It’s warm out. This is real. Stay on top of it.”

Suggested Reading:

Leave A Reply