Re-hydration advice
May 7, 2021 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Had my second vaccine a few days ago and felt miserable for several days from a dehydration headache that stuck around. I was eventually able to sleep it off, but want some better strategies for the next time that happens. What are your tried and true ways of rehydrating (relatively) quickly?

Would love to hear any advice you have, the more specific the better. (What you drink, amount you drink, when/intervals at which you drink, what do you eat with it, etc...)

If I understand correctly it's possible to over-hydrate and not absorb what you drink. I wonder if I was doing that and if I made my headache last longer. Are there ways you can tell if you are hydrating adequately or too much?

Thanks in advance!
posted by switcheroo to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The key to hydration is electrolytes. I use things like the Nuun tablets or Mio squeeze bottles when I'm especially thirsty, but this is 100% what Pedialyte/Gatorade/electrolyte water of various brands are for. If you drink too much plain water it can throw off your electrolyte balance.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:23 AM on May 7, 2021 [9 favorites]

It's pretty hard to over-hydrate. Your body will tell you if electrolytes taste better, because then salt is extra yummy.

Just eat a pinch of salt if you're worried.

I really like the contigo's with the built in straw so you don't even have to lift the bottle when you drink.
posted by bbqturtle at 8:25 AM on May 7, 2021

Gatorade or electrolyte tablets as noted above will help a lot.

I have issues staying hydrated. I make sure I eat a banana once a day (a good source of potassium which is an electrolyte), often in a smoothie, I take one of those electrolyte powders daily (I use emergen-c but I'm sure they're all good), I drink water or tea in between meals and when I first wake up, and I take magnesium gummies before bed as well as calcium.

I have low blood pressure so I also liberally salt my food, salt helps you to retain water. All of these things help me feel my best particularly in hot weather.
posted by lafemma at 8:27 AM on May 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Pedialyte is my go to. I tend to suck on the popsicles them make for kids as I find drinking when I'm dehydrated can make me feel nauseous. The grape ones taste terrible, though. I just have them around and slowly keep working my way through them until I feel better as they're frozen unless you bite into them you are kind of compelled to slowly suck on them instead of gulping them down. You can over hydrate on pure water as it draws electrolytes etc from your cells, slowly and steadily sipping something with balanced electrolytes in helps prevent that problem. Also sometimes when I'm dehydrated I haven't been eating so my blood sugar levels go down, so something simple as a glass of juice, as it has simple sugars in, will help me feel better. Juice is one of the fastest ways to get your blood sugar levels back up again.
posted by wwax at 8:39 AM on May 7, 2021

I have a Nuun tablet almost everyday for this reason - I don't love the taste of plain water first thing in the morning, and so a glass of Nuun kicks off my hydration for the day. They have a bunch of different flavors and while its all just branding and marketing, the "Immunity" tablets taste great!
posted by something_witty at 8:40 AM on May 7, 2021

(With the Nuun and the Mio supplements, make sure that you are getting the uncaffeinated ones or that you are getting the caffeinated ones on purpose.)
posted by restless_nomad at 8:44 AM on May 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

I like these "Medique" electrolytes -- they come in envelopes of 2 tablets each, so they're easy to take along on hikes or traveling, they store very well, and they're not too expensive: $11.24 for 100.

I keep them on hand for migraines. They especially help me with migraines that are caused by overexertion / overheating.
posted by amtho at 8:48 AM on May 7, 2021

First - are you sure it was related to hydration? It could well be a tension headache or any number of things. Just mentioning that in case it's possible to address it differently. (I had a wicked reaction to being vaccinated...because someone at the centre was wearing perfume, and I'm allergic, and I also haven't had ANY PERFUME TRIGGERS in over a year.)

Anyways I also get dehydration headaches and for me it's three things:
- the few days before the Dehydration Event (flight, etc.) will happen I make sure I'm drinking at least 36 oz of actual water/benign herbal tea.

- day of, if possible, I eat a banana at breakfast for the potassium and then try not to get dehydrated anyway

- if a headache starts to hit I drink as immediately as possible a sports drink; I carry Emergen-C packets around but they are basically the same as Nuun's I think - a drink with no caffeine anyway

For food, I usually can't eat much with a headache but if it's hydration-related I try to start back with fruit and sometimes salty crackers.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:48 AM on May 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Had a pretty miserable reaction to my 2nd shot this week as well, chills, fever and nausea and it took me most of the week to start to feel better. I drank a combo of Dr. Price's electrolyte mix (which is too sweet for me on it's own so I usually dilute or mix with something else), mixed with a little natural calm (follow the instructions on the container, it's possible to drink too much magnesium and the electrolyte mix already has some) I'm not much of a smoothie or juice drinker, but in this case that's what my body wanted an acai bowl was the only thing that sounded good once I was eating again, and that included a banana (so more potassium). Honestly that still sounds good, like the popsicles mentioned above, I think there's something about the icy/fruity combo that helps get it down.
posted by snowymorninblues at 9:26 AM on May 7, 2021

LyteShow is nearly flavorless (faint whiff of citric acid, but you could put it in any other drink and it would disappear), and we just subscribe to one bottle a month (between two people, though if we're not diligent the bottle lasts more like 6ish weeks). We just keep the bottle next to our water dispenser and add some drops (my husband calculated a day's dosage as 40 drops, but I think you can also measure using the cap of the travel bottle) every time we refill. We try to get 40-60oz water a day plus other drinks.

Part of the trick, whatever you use, is to stay hydrated on a regular basis.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:37 AM on May 7, 2021

Easier solutions:

If you just want something quick that you can get at the grocery store: mineral water, especially Gerolsteiner which contains an unusually high level of magnesium.

Also: magnesium supplements. You can't really overdose on magnesium, as far as I know, and it does help with a lot of stuff.

You can also try homemade oral rehydration solution -- it's basically dilute sugar and salt -- but it does help if you just feel bad, haven't been eating, and the not eating is making you feel worse:
The "Simple Solution" - Home made Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) Recipe

Preparing 1 (one) Litre solution using Salt, Sugar and Water at Home Mix an oral rehydration solution using the following recipe. Ingredients:

Six (6) level teaspoons of Sugar
Half (1/2) level teaspoon of Salt
One Litre of clean drinking or boiled water and then cooled - 5 cupfuls (each cup about 200 ml.)
posted by amtho at 9:44 AM on May 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I make my own electrolyte drink, based on recommendations from my GI doctor. (I have a condition that makes me prone to dehydration.) I keep a pitcher of it in my fridge all summer and sip on at least 16 oz/day.

Yield: 4 cups (946 ml)
Serving size: 1 cup (237 ml)
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) of lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) of lime juice
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) of unsweetened coconut water
2 cups (480 ml) of cold water
posted by writermcwriterson at 9:45 AM on May 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'm an emergency physician'.

1) For mild dehydration, here's how we determine how much fluid a person needs, and the rate of administration, in the emergency department:

Total volume of rehydration fluid required = 60ml (2.02oz) per kilogram (2.2lb) body weight, which converts to about 1.1oz of fluid per pound body weight

Rate of administration: 25% over each of four hours

So, if you weigh 200lbs:

1.1x200=220oz total fluid volume

divided by 4 = 55oz per hour for four hours

2) Composition of rehydration fluid

sugar (glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose --it doesn't matter which specific sugar you choose) and amino acids help speed the rate of sodium (salt) and electrolyte absorbtion

Electrolytes per se are not really required for effective rehydration

3) What to drink

If it were me, I would drink skim chocolate milk, watered down by half, + 1 teaspoon of salt per 16oz of fluid
posted by BadgerDoctor at 10:26 AM on May 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

You know what has a ton of electrolytes? Seaweed.
posted by Text TK at 11:46 AM on May 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

In case it's helpful, I just got through a few days of headaches after my second vaccine and I was told that the vaccines can cause headaches on their own that are not necessarily linked to hydration.

My hydration tricks are a few things

1. pre-loading with water or iced tea as warriorqueen suggests
2. eating bananas and making sure I'm staying fed as well as hydrated (since a lot of the water we usually take in is in food, so if we're eating less b/c we feel sick that's contributing)
3. Usually some strong tasting iced tea (I'm a fan of the strong fruit flavors like peach or raspberry) with a pinch of salt and a splash of lemon

And if I am traveling, which tends to dry me out more, keeping a packet or two of Emergen-C with me.
posted by jessamyn at 3:57 PM on May 7, 2021

A low tech option I favor for situations like yours is to eat a pickle along with my water. Pickles are cheap, easy to acquire and keep on hand. Also great to eat if you feel like you already over-hydrated. My fave are Mt. Olive Kosher Baby Dills.

If you do want to go the tablet route, S-caps are great.
posted by eelgrassman at 8:33 PM on May 7, 2021

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