With the heat of summer comes a raised chance of dehydration. The human body is made up of about 2/3 water, and we lose about 10 cups of fluids every day through urination, bowel movements, breathing, and sweating. Humans can only go 3 to 5 days without water, and the heat of summer will increase your sweating, which increases your chances of becoming dehydrated!
There are a few signs that you should look out for if you are worried about dehydration, which range from mild symptoms such as dry, sticky mouth, thirst, decreased urine output, headaches, and dizziness or lightheadedness, to more severe symptoms such as extreme thirst, very dry mouth and skin, a lack of sweating, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat and breathing and a fever. At its most severe, lack of adequate water intake will result in delirium and unconsciousness, and possibly death. While in healthy adults, it’s easy to treat mild to moderate dehydration with more fluids, with children and older adults, greater caution is necessary. Once you start having the more severe symptoms, you should seek medical care.
It’s very easy to go through our busy day and not drink enough water. There are many ways, however, to make sure that you do hydrate enough throughout the day.
1. Carry water with you. If it’s easily accessible, then you are more likely to drink more water. And fill your bottle with ice; it makes it easier to drink, especially on hot days.
2. Flavor your water. Drink herbal tea, or add lemons, cucumbers, or strawberries to make your water more flavorful and appealing. Avoid lemonades and other sugary drinks, which add a lot of calories to your diet.
3. Trade coffee and soda for water. Both drinks, because of the caffeine, are dehydrating, which you want to avoid in the hot months of the summer. If you can’t give up your coffee though, try drinking a cup of water for every cup of coffee, to replace the hydration you are losing. Plus, by drinking water instead of soda when you eat out, you save money!
4. Schedule drinking water into your day. Whether it’s drinking a large glass of water as soon as you wake up, whenever you are in the bathroom, in your car or at set intervals, start establishing a habit to get more water into your diet. Eventually, it will become second nature.
5. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Foods like watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, and strawberries are full of water, in addition to vitamins and minerals. For those of you who don’t like the taste of water, this can be a better alternative that makes staying hydrated much more enjoyable!
By taking these small steps towards increasing your hydration, you’re going to make a big difference in your overall health. Whatever way you find to increase your hydration, enjoy the benefits you’re going to feel in the long run.