Snow is a very useful resource, especially skiing. When you are not dehydrated, you can eat snow without worrying about any serious risks.
So, how does snow dehydrate you, we’ll find the answer here.
While we can make the immediate connection between snow and freezing temperatures, we sometimes don’t associate snow to winter dehydration. We don’t sweat as much as we would in the hot weather, so you are tricked into thinking how does snow dehydrate you in this kind of weather.
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How Dehydration Works
For our body to function, the human body needs water and water makes up 75% of the body. When our body loses water through sweat, breathing, and urinating there’s a need to replenish our system.
When you don’t replace lost fluids, you start to show signs of severe dehydration. Regular consumption of drinking water keeps the body hydrated and replaces the water we lost.
Does Snow Dehydrate You?
Out in the cold snow, the body’s response to thirstiness reduces by 40% – even when you’re dehydrated. To conserve heat, blood vessels constrict in the cold and blood stops flowing freely to your extremities.
However, the downside is that the body is tricked into believing it is properly hydrated when it isn’t. As a matter of fact, the opposite happens. Your body does not get the memo to drink more water and kidneys do not receive the signal to conserve water.
So, you have diminished thirst response and your kidney is producing more urine. Your body is taking out far more liquid than it is consuming, and this can lead to dehydration.
Other reasons you can be dehydrated in the snow is because of the extra layers of clothes you wear. Additional layers of clothes make the body work 10 to 40% more which can cause you to sweat.
You also lose fluids when you breathe, and sweat evaporates faster in the cold than in dry weather.
Can You Chew on Snow as a Quick Fix for Dehydration?
If you think that ingesting some snow when you are out in the open will quickly increase your hydration levels, then do I have news for you – that’s just one of those survival myths.
Apart from the obvious ones of avoiding yellow snow because it is dirty snow that contains impurities and waste products, snow that has fallen on the ground is not exactly clean snow either as it has also collected a lot of dirty particles.
Eating snow also lowers your core body temperature and can contribute to winter dehydration.
Why Does Snow Not Hydrate the Body?
Eating snow can cause several side effects to your body, such as hypothermia because snow lowers your core temperature and reduces body heat. Awareness and educating yourself on snow is important to avoid unnecessary health issues later on.
You cannot replace water with snow just because it’s readily available. Our cells need water to be in a liquid state for it to replenish our system, so the body must work harder to heat up and melt the snow.
Safety while exploring the slopes cannot be overemphasized. As you pay attention to the more obvious causes of health issues and accidents while skiing or snowboarding, don’t forget to also pay attention to the less obvious ones.
Being out on the snow can indeed cause you to feel dehydrated. While you’re out on the snow, take precautions by remaining properly hydrated. Happy skiing!