Since water makes up around 2/3 of our body, staying hydrated is more than just a healthy practice; it’s essential. Summer’s heat can drain the body of precious fluid through sweating and evaporation, so staying hydrated should be a priority.
Signs of Dehydration
Dehydration can happen fast in summer’s heat. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of dehydration, because it can quickly escalate to heat stroke or other complications. If you suspect you or someone else has become dehydrated, immediately move them to a shaded area. Loosen tight or restrictive clothing. If possible, lay cool, wet clothes on the face, neck, and wrists to help cool them down. Have them sip water. If symptoms persist, call for medical assistance immediately. The symptoms of dehydration include:
- Little or no urine being produced
- Dark urine
- Dry mouth and extreme thirst
- Feeling sleepy or tired
- Dizziness or a lightheaded feeling
- Crying but not producing tears
Unlike sports drinks, sodas, and other flavored options, water is a basic building block of life. It is used by the body without any need for processing. There are no excess sugars in water. It is the body’s perfect fluid. Water helps maintain blood volume, regulates body temperature, and regulates kidney function. Without it, we cannot survive. If you prefer flavor in your water, consider adding slices or chunks of fruit to infuse it with flavor. Limit your intake of sports drinks, soft drinks, and caffeine. Sugar and caffeine stimulate the body to secrete more water to flush them out of the system.
How Much Should I Drink?
We’ve all heard the “drink 8 glasses of water per day” rule. While it’s a good starting place, it’s more of a guideline than a set-in-stone commandment. The truth is, your body’s need for water will depend on a number of factors, including the temperatures, how much you exercise, and your individual body’s makeup and fitness level. The best way to determine if you’re drinking enough water is to pay attention to your body’s signals. Sip water throughout the day, and drink whenever you feel thirsty or hungry. Thirst is quite often confused with hunger, so drinking when you feel hungry not only prevents over eating, it may satisfy what your body’s really craving. Most importantly, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and healthy all summer long.