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Too much water can cause medical issues

Lack of hydration is a concern, but overhydration can also be problematic

COLUMBIA, S.C. — We have all heard it: drink eight glasses of water a day. However, does that count for everyone if we have different weights, heights and medical needs? 

As temperatures start to increase, the need for hydration is integral to an outdoor summer. 

Doctor Jill Michels is the managing director of Palmetto Poison Control Center at USC School of Pharmacy, and she believes that you might notice if your loved ones have consumed too much water, depending on shifts in their behaviors. 

"Might be their behavior; they could be confused, disoriented, again complain of really bad headaches, start vomiting," Michels said. "If you've noticed them drinking the water too much, it could be a combination of things. Certainly, their behavior with drinking the water but also how they're responding back to you. And it can be a medical emergency, and if you do see that, that's when you would call 911 to get that person help as soon as possible."

Elizabeth Martinez is a USC student who finds it hard to find a medium. 

"I feel like here in Columbia it's kind of hard," Martinez said. "Where's that safe zone between staying hydrated and not overdoing it?"

But Michels said there are ways to avoid these problems. 

"Where people get in trouble is number one, they drink the water too fast, and number two, they are drinking just plain water," Michels said. "When we're hydrating our bodies, we need to make sure also including those electrolytes back in not just plain water. And when you drink too much too fast, you have all this extra water in your body, and your kidneys can't keep up to excrete out that extra fluid, and so it affects your brain."

Drinking excessive amounts of water can impact each person differently, depending on weight.

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