A thirsty mother-of-two in Indiana died after drinking roughly 64 ounces of water (8 cups) over about 20 minutes.
Mother Was Very Thirsty Before Dying
The heartbreaking incident unfolded after a Fourth of July outing with Ashley’s daughters, Brooklyn and Brynlee, on Lake Freeman, Indiana.
Ashley began complaining of a headache and other symptoms of dehydration, such as feeling lightheaded on the last day of their trip, and no amount of water could quench her thirst.
Ashley Summers, 35, was a daycare worker and mother of two.
Drinking Water Didn’t Help
Devon Miller, Ashley’s brother, said, “She just felt like she couldn’t get enough water… When they left the sand bar to when they got to the dock, it was about a 20-minute boat ride – she drank four bottles of water in that 20 minutes.”
When Ashley finally returned home, she collapsed in her garage, having suffered severe brain swelling, and never regained consciousness.
At the hospital, doctors diagnosed her with water toxicity.
What Is Water Toxicity?
Water toxicity, also called hyponatremia, develops due to too much water in the body through a certain period, and not enough sodium.
Otherwise explained as insufficient levels of sodium in the body, an essential electrolyte that helps to regulate the delicate balance of fluids in cells as well as maintain proper nerve and muscle function.
Doctors state that drinking too much water may dilute concentrations of sodium in the blood.
This overwhelms the ability of the body’s complex organ systems, primarily the kidneys, to regulate the balance of fluids. Symptoms include feeling generally unwell and having muscle cramps, soreness, nausea, vomiting, and headaches.
Sodium is particularly crucial for maintaining communication between cells via electrical impulses.
Sodium also aids in absorbing nutrients in the digestive system and the kidneys, which adjusts the amount of water and electrolytes reabsorbed into the bloodstream or excreted through urine.
You can learn more about water and salt (sodium) in your body by reading or watching videos by world-renowned health advocate Barbara O’Neill.
Ashley’s family is now advocating for greater awareness of water toxicity and its potentially fatal consequences. They hope that sharing their story will prevent such tragedies from happening to others in the future.
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