Drinking fountains are a valuable addition to schools, gyms, and many public places. With the advent of bottled water it seemed people were bringing their own water from home and thought they didn’t need access to drinking fountains. However, many times when exercising or outdoors in the heat, people underestimate how much water they need to drink and become dehydrated. This can happen to children at school too when playing and not realizing they need a drink of water. It’s in these times when we may have forgotten to bring water from home or underestimated how much water to bring. It’s also in these times I feel drinking fountains are invaluable in avoiding dehydration.
Dehydration symptoms set in subtly and can quickly get worse. Having water from a drinking fountain accessible when needed can avoid illness and possibly a trip to the hospital. Even in its mild stages dehydration is unpleasant.
The Mayo Clinic describes mild dehydration symptoms as:
*Dry sticky mouth
* Sleepiness or tiredness
*Thirst (I’ve heard that when you feel thirsty this is a sign you are already somewhat dehydrated)
*Decreased urine output
*Dizziness or lightheadedness
The severe dehydration symptoms that mean it’s a medical emergency are:
*Very dry mouth
*Lack of sweating
*Low blood pressure
*In very severe cases delirium and unconsciousness
Well, all of these symptoms sound like ones I want to avoid. The good news is if we drink water as we go through our school day or our workout, dehydration can be avoided. If mild dehydration is upon us drinking more fluids like water can usually reverse it. This is where drinking fountains come into play. If you are at the park on a hot day you don’t have to make plans to bring enough water or try to locate the closest concession stand. There is usually a drinking fountain close by. This is also the case at schools and many work places. It’s not always on a child’s mind when they’re on recess to stop and drink water. However, if they pass a drinking fountain on the way back to class they are apt to take a drink avoiding dehydration. I have also seen bottle filling stations around Metro Detroit. For instance I was at the Detroit Zoo recently and one caught my eye. These stations fill water bottles quickly and efficiently so if you did bring a water bottle from home you can refill it as you walk around the zoo. No spending extra money on water and no dehydration. I feel having the drinking fountains accessible and spread out across a public place is key. It puts water in your path leading you to pause and realize you’re thirsty. Time to stop and take a drink.