We are in the midst of a hot summer. While its time to be out enjoying many activities, we should be aware of the potential dangers of dehydration which include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Severe dehydration and heat stroke can result in shock and even death.
-The most vulnerable are the elderly, infants & children, athletes and those living at high altitudes.
-Dehydration can be mild, moderate or severe.
-Symptoms vary based on the severity of dehyration and include dry mouth, thirst, weakness, dizziness, headache, decreased urination, muscle cramps, fever, low blood pressure, rapid heart beat, irritability, and confusion.
Here are some important tips on how to beat the summer heat and prevent dehydration.
1) Drink plenty of water. Consume at least eight to ten, eight ounce glasses of water daily. Drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration and don’t wait till you are thirsty.
2) Wear loose light-colored clothes, preferably cotton. Dark clothing absorbs more heat, and tight clothes don’t let sweat evaporate (which helps with cooling).
3) Avoid alcohol and caffeine. They both are diuretics and dehydrate your body cells.
4) Restrict high sugar drinks like sodas or fruit juices. Dilute fruit juice to reduce sugar intake.
5) Stay indoors (specially between 10am to 4pm) to avoid sun exposure and reduce fluid loss from excessive sweating.
6) Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables and salads.These are great sources of water to stay hydrated.
7) Avoid high-protein diet. Our body has to use more water to flush out the nitrogen in protein. If you need to maintain a high protein diet then increase your water intake as well.
A great guide to check if you are well hydrated is to check the color of your urine – if it is dark yellow or amber then increase your fluid intake but if it is clear or straw colored you are well hydrated.