Spring is now in full swing, which means summer is just around the corner. Before you go running off to the beach or hopping in your car for your next road trip, though, make sure you don’t forget to bring plenty of water. Staying hydrated is one of the most important ways you can stay healthy this summer, but between all the barbecues and theme park days, you may find yourself forgetting to drink water frequently. These tips can help you stay on track all year long so you can reach your hydration and health goals.
Keep an Eye Out for the Signs of Dehydration
When you’re dehydrated, your body is losing more water than it is receiving and may struggle to carry out basic functions without sufficient hydration. Though many people are nearly always dehydrated, they may not realize their body can experience some nasty symptoms as a result, which may make them feel worse than usual. If you’re out in hot weather, exercising or ill, you may be at an increased risk for dehydration. Stay vigilant for these signs and symptoms of dehydration:
- Dark-colored urine
- Irritability or confusion
If these symptoms show up in your everyday life, you may need to alter your habits to ensure your body receives the fluid it needs to function.
Carry Water With You
It’s significantly more difficult to remember to drink enough water if you don’t have access to water throughout the day. Get into the habit of carrying water with you wherever you go, no matter the day or time of year. Water evaporates from your skin and breath just as easily in winter as in summer.
Although hot temperatures do exacerbate dehydration, it’s equally important to maintain hydration in January as well as July. Purchase a reusable sports bottle or opt for water at any restaurants you frequent. Once you’re in the habit of carrying your water with you, it becomes much easier to consume an adequate amount of water.
As a rule of thumb, many doctors suggest drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but this may be more or less than you realistically need. Depending on your height, weight and sex, you may require a different amount of water than the adage suggests. The exact amount of water your body type needs isn’t yet agreed upon by specialists, but according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the recommended amount hovers around 13 cups of water for men and nine for women.1
Avoid Diuretic Beverages
Some people can’t function without their daily cup of coffee. Others are desperate for Friday happy hours. No matter your vice, a little is fine, but a lot could pose a threat to your body’s hydration. Many beverages are diuretic, meaning they encourage water loss, and could contribute to dehydration, especially if you drink more than one diuretic beverage per day. Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and soda, as well as alcoholic beverages, can drain water from your body. If you notice drinking these beverages causes you to urinate more than usual, you’re likely in need of water, no matter how clear or light-colored your urine appears.
Treat Dehydration as Soon as Possible
If you’re feeling the effects of dehydration, it’s important you immediately take action to prevent worsening symptoms. Mild to moderate dehydration is perfectly treatable without medical intervention. The easiest and most direct way to rehydrate yourself is by drinking water as soon as possible. Take tiny sips constantly rather than gulping mouthfuls of water to avoid feeling nauseous. If you’re exercising when dehydration sets in, stop your workout and relax. Allow yourself to cool off indoors or in a shaded area and remove any unnecessary clothing to stop sweating.
Sweating usually saps more than just water from your body, so a sports drink may be necessary to replenish all you lost during your routine. However, if hydration is your primary concern, plain water is the fastest way to feel better.
If you become severely dehydrated, you should immediately go to the emergency room where doctors should replenish your water and electrolytes with an intravenous solution.
Have a Safe and Healthy Spring and Summer With St. Hope Foundation
The Texas summers can be brutally hot, and even a harmless trip to the grocery store or museum could leave you dehydrated. If you or your family need advice on how you can manage dehydration and build positive hydration habits, you can rely on the physicians at St. Hope Foundation. At St. Hope, our friendly, knowledgeable medical professionals specialize in everything from primary and dental care to vision and women’s health. Contact us online or call our corporate office at (713) 778-1300 to find your nearest St. Hope location.