There’s nothing better than spending a day at Holden Beach soaking up the sun, splashing in the waves and building that amazing sand castle. What you may not realize is all that sun, sand and salt is a perfect recipe for quickly becoming dehydrated. Here are some tips for staying hydrated at the beach so you can keep collecting those shells, working on your tan and surfing the waves.

Avoid being in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.

Being in direct sunlight increases sweating as your body tries to cool itself. Sweating is water loss and can speed up dehydration. Be sure to bring a beach umbrella or canopy along for some shade.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Alcohol and caffeine can both cause you to become dehydrated more quickly by pulling water from the body.  If you must drink alcohol or caffeine, make sure to alternate with plain water and increase your water intake overall to help avoid dehydration.

Drink plenty of water. 

The key is to drink water throughout the day. Start before you even get to the beach so that you’ve got a jump start on your hydration. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink – thirst is a sign you’re already mildly dehydrated.

Get hydration from other sources.

Try snacking on fruits and vegetables with high water content. Watermelon, oranges, cucumbers, tomatoes and celery are all good choices. You can also try unsweetened, natural coconut water to help replace electrolytes. 100% juices are a good choice as well – just avoid juices or sports drinks that contain sodium or added sweeteners.

Know the signs of dehydration.

It’s important to know the signs of dehydration to help prevent a medical emergency. Mild dehydration symptoms include increased thirst, dry mouth, headache, muscle cramps and fatigue. If you start to notice these symptoms, increase your water intake and move to a cool area out of the sun to help prevent the dehydration from become worse.  Symptoms of more severe dehydration include rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, dizziness, confusion and/or loss of consciousness. If you notice the signs of severe dehydration, it’s important to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.

No one wants their vacation ruined by illness, and by following these few tips, you can help ensure you stay hydrated at Holden Beach and enjoy your all your time while here!