Before moving to the East Coast a friend told me, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. It’ll change.”
She was right. I’ve never experienced the quick shifts in weather the New England terrain brings. One of the consequences of quick weather changes is the ill effect severe weather can have on our bodies. We can be huddling under an umbrella one day and sweating the next day as temperatures rise 20 degrees.
Dehydration is one of the negative effects of hot weather. Children and older adults are at higher risk of dehydration because their bodies do not communicate their need for hydration as quickly as young and middle aged adults.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of dehydration include: fatigue, dizziness, dark colored urine, lack of hunger, flushed skin, intolerance for heat and even a dry cough. Other sources note the presence of irritability is another sign of dehydration (watch for this in children as they can’t always explain their thirst).
Keeping healthy water levels inside our bodies is essential for maintaining our internal temperature, cushioning joints and ligaments and getting rid of internal waste. If there is not enough water inside our bodies, our brains let us know something is wrong through a parched mouth and feeling sluggish, flushed and tired.
Prevent Dehydration with Prevention
How can we tell if we are dehydrated? The rule of thumb most doctors and health professionals go by is, ‘if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.’
It’s easy to rush outside in the good weather and forget to bring an extra water bottle. However, don’t enjoy the weather at the expense of you and your family’s health: Here are 6 ways to avoid dehydration this summer and continue with summer fun:
- Drink 16-20 ounces of water before physical activity outside.
- After intense activity, the American College of Sports medicine encourages rehydration instead of consuming large quantities of liquid.
Studies show drinking a lot of water or fluid at once causes one to urinate more; the body cannot distribute a lot of fluid at the same time. However, rehydrating by drinking 6-10 oz. of fluid every 10-15 minutes allows the body to refuel its fluid loss more efficiently.
- Be aware of the dehydrating effects of alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Drink water to make up for fluid loss.
- Bored with plain water? Try adding slices of different fruit. Try watermelon, lemon, lime, cucumber and sprigs of mint to jazz up water.
- Freeze a few water bottles and carry them around on hot days to drink cold water all day.
- Fresh fruit such as watermelon, apples and grapes contains water. Encourage kids and adults to snack on fresh fruit instead of dehydrating, salty snacks.
Melissa AuClair is a RN who blogs about freelancing and women in creative businesses at http://www.launchyourcreativelife.com. She enjoys eating watermelon, adding fruit to water and big green salads during the summer as a way to stay hydrated. Follow her on Twitter @Melissauclair0