Mum-of-two Ashley Summers has died after drinking an excessive amount of water too quickly.
The tragic incident occurred during a fun-filled trip to Indiana’s Lake Freeman over the Fourth of July weekend.
Summers had reportedly mentioned feeling dehydrated and light-headed to those around her. And it was in trying to fix this that she lost her life.
Desperate to quench her thirst, she downed multiple bottles of water in a short period.
Later, Summers passed out in her garage, and her family rushed her to IU Health Arnett Hospital.
Despite their efforts, the mother never regained consciousness and fell victim to water toxicity.
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Her brother, Devon Miller, expressed his shock over the incident, admitting that they hadn’t even heard of water toxicity before.
He told WRTV: “It was a shock to all of us. When they first started talking about water toxicity. It was like this is a thing?
“Someone said she drank four bottles of water in 20 minutes. I mean, an average water bottle is like 16 ounces, so that was 64 ounces that she drank in a span of 20 minutes.
“That’s half a gallon. That’s what you’re supposed to drink in a whole day.”
The rapid consumption of four bottles of water within 20 minutes proved too much for Summers’ kidneys to handle.
Dr Alok Harwani, a physician at the hospital, has emphasised that drinking an excessive amount of water in a short time is relatively rare.
Typically, our kidneys can only clear about a litre of water per hour.
Dr Harwani advised people to be cautious, especially when spending time outside in hot weather.
It’s crucial to maintain the balance of water and sodium in the blood by consuming electrolyte-rich foods and beverages, such as fruits or Gatorade, in addition to plain water.
“Things to look out for are if you just start feeling really out of it, very tired, very fatigued,” he added.
“Sometimes patients feel like they’re starting to have a mild headache, or are just feeling overall unwell.
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“Those could be early signs of water intoxication.
“So, if you’re really concerned that you or a family member is not acting right and you’re worried about water toxicity, don’t hesitate to call 911, don’t hesitate to go to the [emergency room].”
Water toxicity-related deaths have occurred in various contexts over the years.
According to Scientific American, people have lost their lives due to this condition during a radio station’s on-air water drinking contest and a fraternity hazing ritual.
In the latter, a California university student was reportedly forced to drink excessive amounts of water between rounds of push-ups.
Even clubbers, particularly those using substances like MDMA, can be susceptible to water toxicity as they sweat profusely and try to rehydrate with water after hours of dancing.
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