Staying Hydrated This Summer

July 08, 2016 / James Knowles

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With summer upon us, we all are feeling the urge to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. However as it gets progressively hotter outside, heat safety becomes increasingly important to prevent dehydration and other related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. WebMd defines dehydration as “… a condition that occurs when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in.” Too often people lose track of how much water they’ve had during a hot day and can end up suffering the symptoms of dehydration. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, some of the symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Less-frequent urination
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth and mucous membranes
  • Increased heart rate and breathing
  • In children, additional symptoms may include:
  • No wet diapers for more than three hours
  • Sunken abdomen, eyes, or cheeks
  • High fever
  • Irritability
  • Skin that does not flatten when pinched and released

If gone untreated, dehydration can eventually lead to more serious problems such as heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help prevent dehydration and stay safe this summer:


Take water breaks

Make it a point to stop what you’re doing every so often and take a 5-minute water break to cool your body down and rehydrate.


Schedule your outdoor activity

If possible, try scheduling your physical activities around cooler parts of the day to help limit the amount of mid-day heat that you’re exposed to.


All beverages are not created equal

We can’t stress enough that drinking liquid doesn’t always mean you’re staying hydrated. Some beverages like coffee, cola and alcohol are considered diuretics — which increase your urine production and actually contribute to your dehydration!


Don’t forget the electrolytes

Electrolytes are essential to our body’s functions and during extreme dehydration they can be depleted. Recharge your body’s electrolytes with appropriate sports drinks, coconut water or even potassium-rich fruits like bananas.


Keep it light & keep it loose

Dark colors absorb the sunlight, so try and wear lighter colored clothing that fits loosely to prevent over-heating.

 

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Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dehydration-adults
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/non-traumatic_emergencies/dehydration_and_heat_stroke_85,P00828/

Category: Physical Health / Safety