3 August 2023 | 9:18
Ashley Summers with her family.
Facebook / Ashley Summers
An Indiana mother of two who told her family she felt like she couldn’t drink enough water to feel full collapsed and died of water toxicity — a rare consequence of drinking too much water too quickly.
Ashley Summers, 35, was out at Lake Freeman with her husband and two young daughters over the Fourth of July weekend when she started feeling severely dehydrated.
“Someone said she drank four bottles of water in 20 minutes,” her brother Devon Miller told WRTV. “I mean, an average water bottle is 16 ounces, so that was 64 ounces she drank in 20 minutes. That’s half a gallon. That’s what you need to drink in a whole day.”
On the last day of the family’s trip, the mother began to feel that she could not drink enough water.
Summers’ family said she felt dizzy and had a persistent headache, her family said.
“My sister, Holly, called me and she was just a wreck. She was like, ‘Ashley’s in the hospital. She’s got swelling in her brain, they don’t know what’s causing it, they don’t know what to do for to have it go down, and it doesn’t look good,” Miller said.
After returning from the trip, Summers passed out in her garage before being taken to IU Health Arnett Hospital.
She never regained consciousness and doctors told her family that she had died of water intoxication.
“It was a shock to all of us. When they first started talking about water toxicity. It was like, is this a thing?” Miller remembered.
Dr. Blake Froberg, a toxicologist at the hospital, told the outlet that the rare cause of death is more likely to occur during the summer or if someone works outside or exercises frequently.
“There are certain things that can make someone more prone to it, but the overall thing that happens is you have too much water and not enough sodium in your body,” Froberg said, later noting that it’s important for people to drink things that have electrolytes, sodium and potassium.
Symptoms of water toxicity generally include malaise as well as muscle cramps, soreness, nausea and headache.
Summers was an organ donor and was able to donate her heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and some of her long bone tissue, ultimately saving five other lives, her family said.