The primary ways to prevent water intoxication include taking care to avoid drinking an overabundance of water and avoiding excessive sweating. If you are participating in high-intensity exercise, you may also do well to drink sports beverages that contain significant amounts of sodium. Likewise, in the days leading up to a competition that will involve a good deal of physical exertion, you may do well to increase the amount of salt you consume. Additionally, you might find it beneficial to avoid medicines that are referred to as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as they have been associated with an increased risk of this serious problem.
Most people are well aware of the fact that water is good for the human body, but may not be aware that consuming too much of it can actually prove harmful. If you drink too much ordinary water, whether spring, filtered, or from the tap, this can lower the amount of sodium in your blood. Eventually, this can lead to such symptoms as nausea, cramps, or confusion. When the condition grows very severe, coma and death may also result. As such, one of the best ways to prevent water intoxication is by making sure you do not drink an abnormal amount of plain water.
You can also prevent water intoxication by avoiding excessive sweating. When you sweat excessively, your body actually sheds much needed sodium through your skin. This can result in an upset in your blood concentration of sodium. If you do not take steps to replace this sodium as you are losing it, you could suffer from water intoxication.
If you are engaging in strenuous exercises, heavy sweating is a natural result. You might have the urge to drink more water as a result of your hard workout. To prevent water intoxication in such a case, you may find it more beneficial to consume sports drinks that have significant sodium contents. Though you may feel tempted to replace the fluids you lose during exercise with cold water, this will not help prevent water intoxication and is likely to make your risk for it even worse.
If you know you have a competition coming up or will begin an exercise routine that involves heavy exertion and sweating, you can prepare for it and work to prevent this health problem ahead of time. For example, you may do well to begin eating foods that contain sodium several days before you will begin your extreme workout or competition. Interestingly, you may also choose to avoid medicines that are referred to as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, as they have been associated with an increased risk of water intoxication when used by athletes.