During the Independence Day holidays, Ashley SummersThe 35-year-old went boating on a nearby lake with her two children and husband. For three days they enjoyed long days on the water. On the fourth day, Summers felt thirsty and drank four bottles of water in about 20 minutes. Suddenly her head started spinning.
Summers’ brother Devon Miller, 51, of Des Moines, Iowa, said: “On the drive home, my husband, Cody, was holding his head in his hands when he leaned into his knees feeling dizzy. ‘ said Summers’ brother, Devon Miller, 51. “She passed out on her way across the garage into the house and she didn’t wake up at all.”
Just days later, her family announced that Summers had died of water poisoning.
“I had no idea,” Miller says. “I didn’t know that drinking too much water in a short period of time could actually kill you.”
Being on water for several days causes dehydration
Summers loves being near water and used the lake near where she and her husband lived in Monticello, Indiana. During a long vacation weekend, they spent several days boating on the lake.
“They were out on the boat on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday,” Miller says.
While they were busy and “having a good time,” Summers wasn’t drinking enough water. On Tuesday she woke up with a headache and all day she drank water, she vowed. She also ate sandwiches and snacks. Later that afternoon, she texted her parents, who recalled, “It’s been really hot and sunny today, I’m starting to get dizzy and I’m still having headaches,” Miller said. To tell. He added that her parents encouraged her to return to her home. Summers was still very thirsty, so she drank water after water. Miller learned what had happened to her sister through emails and phone calls from her brother-in-law, her brother and her parents.
“She drank four bottles of water in the 20 minutes it took us back to shore,” Miller said, according to her brother-in-law. “She commented that her toes felt a little tingly and numb.” On the way home in her car, Ms. Summers felt dizzy and ended up feeling dizzy at her home. Lost. Her husband started CPR but was unsure if she was breathing and her 8-year-old daughter called 911. Her ambulance took her to the local emergency room, where a CT scan revealed her brain was swollen. Around 9:30 p.m., Miller got a call from her sister, Holly.
“Holly was like, ‘Ashley’s in the hospital.’ She said her brain was swollen and she didn’t know what was causing it. , the situation is not good,” Miller recalls.
Her doctor thought that drinking too much water in a short period of time might cause brain cells to swell. Miller continued to hope that doctors would treat her and eventually her family would start joking about Summers overwatering.
“At the moment, I think she’s fine,” he says. “(I’m) going to have her come back to her house by the end of the week and poke her in the ribs saying, ‘You pretty scared us there.'”
Doctors transferred her to another hospital with a neurosurgeon for further tests and brain scans.
“Every time we do a brain scan, it comes back empty-handed,” Miller says. “No activity. No response. No, not another.”
At one point, doctors tried to take her off life support to see if she would wake up, but she never did. On July 6, doctors declared Summers dead. Summers is an organ donor, and the hospital organized a donor walk for her loved ones to say their final goodbyes before her doctors extracted her organs. At least 50 people attended.
“The only silver lining from organ donation was that we were able to get some of her heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and long bone tissue,” Miller said. “In other words, five people will have a second life because of her.”
What is Water Intoxication?
Most people do not consider drinking water to be dangerous. And most of the time it’s not dangerous. However, drinking too much water can be a problem if people guzzle large amounts of water too quickly.
“Water toxicity is when a person drinks too much water in a short period of time, causing an imbalance of salt and water in the body,” said Dr. Blake Froberg, a toxicologist at IU Health, Indiana. . He told TODAY.com he was not involved in Summers’ treatment. “The worst effects are when the salt-water balance is disrupted within the cells of the brain. It causes swelling in those cells, which can lead to swelling throughout the brain.”
Increased pressure in the brain can lead to intoxicated behavior, seizures, and “worst case” death. As scary as this sounds, deaths from water toxicity are “rare,” says Froberg.
Symptoms may include:
- i feel sick
- muscle spasms and pain
Further “worrying” signs are:
- severe headache
- change in mental state
“It’s a little difficult because sometimes the symptoms are a little uncharacteristic,” says Floberg.
There is no fixed amount of water that humans should drink in a day. It depends on a person’s size, gender and activity level. Normally, a man needs about 4 liters of fluid every 24 hours and a woman about 3 liters. Foods such as fruits and vegetables contain water, so people also get water from food.
“If you take your daily dose in an hour, you’re probably going to have more problems,” says Floberg.
It can also be a problem if you become dehydrated and try to overcompensate by drinking extra water right away. In hot weather or if you notice dehydration, you can avoid water intoxication by enjoying a sports drink that contains electrolytes to keep the body’s electrolytes in balance, or by eating and drinking at the same time. Sodium in food also helps.
“Drinking water is perfectly fine. Again, this is a rare symptom,” says Floberg. “When you feel like you need to drink lots of water, or feel like you need to drink more quickly to stay hydrated, it’s better to think, ‘Okay, I’m going to take some salt and potassium as well.’ “Likewise?” ‘”
Drinking water regularly throughout the day also helps avoid water intoxication. If you suspect that you or someone you love has water poisoning, you should go to the emergency room. There, intravenous fluids are used to restore proper electrolyte and water balance in the body. You can also call the National Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 to ask an expert, Froberg said.
legacy of generosity
Summers has always loved children and they have been at the center of her career. She owned her own nursery school, but closed it and worked at another nursery before her death. She was also the mother of her two daughters, ages 8 and 3, and coached her team in her favorite sport, softball. Miller was happy to meet the whole family who have fond memories of Summers.
“They were very kind and told great stories,” he says. “It’s heartwarming to know that Ashley is such a positive influence on so many people.”
Helping others through organ donation also fit Summers’ personality, her brother says. Now her husband and her daughters are struggling with grief and the realities of life with only one income and huge medical bills.
“They are going through grief right now, just feeling the loss and the pain,” Miller said. “We have a big family and we get along very well…it will definitely blow a hole in our family.”
Miller wants to share her story to raise awareness about water addiction.
“What the neurosurgeon said was, ‘If she had been drinking (a sports drink) or some other drink high in electrolytes, she would probably still be alive,'” he says. “This is a lesson I hope many others will take as well. Maybe it says like a light bulb.” , “Hey, maybe I should go find a (sports drink).”