When I was younger my peers would almost always think of two things when my name was brought up, martial arts and shooting. It was almost as if my name was synonymous with the thought. Fortunately for me, those that really knew me thought of Christianity and comic books as well. Looking back at the younger days, there are few things I remember more than the martial arts and shooting. Is that good or bad? I can’t really say, but it does bring me to some particular memories.
One of those relates to shooting, and it’s not about the sound of a bullet tearing through a paper target. It is the constant emphasis that culture of people puts on safety, and I’m not just talking about gun safety. There were times we would attend classes at military bases, for me that usually meant Camp Perry. As a shooter you have all kinds of responsibilities. One of those was being part of a team and pulling targets for the marksman. One of my most vivid memories is the army medics going up and down the line making sure you had enough water. It was almost always a quart per hour based on the level of exertion and the season. Which brings me to our first topic – avoiding dehydration.
Dehydration is a condition that exists because of the lack of fluids in our body. Its symptoms are often subtle and therefore they can easily be overlooked. Once dehydration creeps in, it can absolutely ruin your plans, so be careful. Now, keep in mind that I’m not a nurse or a doctor, these are just things I’ve learned over the years. Believe me when I say as a Magic judge I have experience with this first hand. Over the course of a weekend, judges can walk as much as thirty miles. With the event constantly distracting you, it’s easy to succumb to dehydration. I have had friends hospitalized because of it and that isn’t a fun thing to watch.
The best way to combat dehydration is by drinking water and being aware of its symptoms: increased thirst, dry mouth, weakness, dizziness, confusion, inability to sweat, and decreased urine output. Oh and increased exercise can cause dehydration, I know it’s not a symptom but for some of us a con means a lot more walking than we might be used to. I did leave a few out that aren’t likely to pop up at a con, like running a fever. The hard part about this is that all of those symptoms are probably a symptom to something else as well. The best thing one can do is be aware, understand that you are possibly being more physical than you might normally be, and increase your water intake in relation to the climate and exercise.
Why is this important? Aside from the fact that nobody wants their fun ruined, it’s really because dehydration is a lot like a stalker. It waits patiently and then it strikes you down. The difference is that in this case you can prevent it.
What happens if you do become dehydrated? Well a lot of things can happen. It really depends on when it’s caught. If it’s caught early enough you can just rehydrate and slow down a little bit. The worst case scenario is you end up in the hospital for a few days. That’s what happened to my friend. He ended up staying in the hospital for two days, had to reschedule his flights, and had a medical bill to take care of as well.
Again, I’m no expert and this is by no means an article that is worthy of a medical journal, it is just here to remind you of something we all know about and sometimes forget to look at. Stay hydrated and get the rest you need to insure your convention is a good one.