Summer’s in full swing, and rising temperatures mean a higher risk of dehydration. This is especially true for young children and older adults. Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluids than you can replace and your body can’t perform normally. Your body can lose fluids for a variety of reasons, like exercise, sweating, or illness.
Dehydration can cause issues in your kidneys (kidney stones), intestines (constipation), liver, joints, muscles, and even headaches and weight gain. Mild symptoms of dehydration can include feeling tired, dry mouth, dark yellow urine, and feeling thirsty. Sometimes, it can be severe enough to cause confusion, dizziness, fainting, rapid breathing, and rapid heart rate, which are indicators of heat stroke.
The good news is avoiding dehydration this summer can be easy.
Water is essential to your body and hydration works best when it is part of an everyday routine. Drinking enough water is crucial for many reasons. It regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints, prevents infections, delivers nutrients to your cells, and keeps your organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
Easy Tips to Keep You Hydrated:
Don’t wait to drink until you get thirsty. Monitor your intake and make sure to drink on a regular basis.
Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day, more if you are in a hot and/or dry climate.
Drink throughout the entire day. Small amounts of water over a long period of time will keep you better hydrated than drinking a large amount all at once.
Keep drinks accessible. Use a refillable water bottle and have it near you at all times.
Eat plenty of water-rich foods. Foods like watermelons, summer melons, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and lettuce can give your body the extra fluids you need.
Even if you don’t feel well, keep drinking. Small sips and plenty of fluids will help you feel better and improve your body’s recovery by keeping up your body’s “hydration momentum.”
Avoid drinks with caffeine and large amounts of sugar as these can cause you to dehydrate more quickly.
When you hydrate properly, your body can regulate temperatures more efficiently, and it can help prevent heat exhaustion or potentially deadly heat stroke.
Drinking and Exercise
Summertime fun means being outdoors, and this can cause lost fluids.
It is important to follow a few guidelines to keep yourself hydrated if you are planning on exercising in the heat.
If you can, plan your outdoor exercise for cooler times of the day and wear loose clothing that can help keep your body cool more efficiently.
Up your fluid intake and start drinking about four hours before you exercise.
Continue to drink every 10 to 15 minutes while you are exerting yourself.
Keep drinking even after you are done being active.
Electrolytes and Dehydration
When sweating, you are losing more than just water. You are also losing small amounts of electrolytes. Drinking water alone will not replace these.
Electrolytes like sodium, calcium, chloride, and potassium are essential for proper cell function and they help regulate the fluid levels in your body. They also enable your muscles (including your heart) to contract, help your blood clot, allow your body to build new tissue, and transmit nerve signals.
Drinking a sports drink and eating foods rich in these minerals, like spinach, turkey, bananas, avocados, oranges, and strawberries, can help replenish your electrolyte levels
What to Do When You’re Dehydrated
If you suspect you or someone else is getting overheated, it’s important to act immediately.
Here are some steps to take:
Loosen up your clothing.
Move to a cool place.
Lay down and slightly elevate your legs.
If necessary, take a cool shower or bath. Do not take COLD showers or baths. If the water is too cold, it can decrease blood flow and cause your core temperature to rise. Warm or slightly cool sensations, on the other hand, will increase blood flow to the skin and increase the rate of cooling. Water temperatures of around 91℉ (33℃) are the most helpful.
Mild heat stroke symptoms can be treated at home, but even moderate symptoms can sometimes become dangerous if not treated properly. If you have severe symptoms of heat stroke, or you’re suffering from confusion, rapid and/or shallow breathing, or a quick pulse, it’s extremely important you get help immediately.
Why Choose MD Acute
At MD Acute, you don’t need an appointment to treat dehydration. Simply walk in and get the treatment you need, without the expense, wait times, or the hassle usually associated with an emergency room visit. We can treat your dehydration quickly and get you back to your summer plans.