Dehydration – it is something that has never been on my mind before except for when doing long hikes in the Alps in July or August. That has changed. I have been in hot countries before (Myanmar, Cambodia, Australia) but somehow nothing compares to the heat in Haiti.
The recommendation by our staff health advisor is to drink between 3 and 5 litres a day, and even though I’m doing that, I’m still getting dehydrated. The worst time is at night. I wake up covered in sweat every single morning. Yikes.
And it’s not just the loss of water. I never really appreciated this fully before, but you lose loads of minerals as well and it’s difficult to get them back. In my first two weeks I woke up twice with cramps in my legs because I had lost too much salt. Fortunately everybody here is having these problems, so it’s easy to get advice. I’m now drinking oral rehydration salts almost every morning and feel much better.
Lessons learned for next time: bring more oral rehydration salts and a camel pack for the office. It might look ridiculous, but from my hikes I know that I’m drinking more and more regularly when I have a drinking tube near my face, than when I have a bottle somewhere near by.