Hydration is important year-round, but as the summer temps continue to rise, North Central Surgical Center wants to remind you just how crucial it is to drink enough water.
Every cell, tissue and organ in your body depends on water to survive. Water allows body systems to function properly, removes waste, lubricates joints and helps maintain body temperature. When your water resources are depleted (known as dehydration), body functions can begin to shut down.
Dehydration, combined with exposure to extreme heat, can lead to dangerous heat exhaustion and even potentially fatal heat stroke. Each year, hundreds of people die from heat-related health conditions. Those who regularly spend time outdoors in the summer, whether for work or play, are most at risk for dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Staying hydrated is absolutely essential to your health and key to avoiding heat-related conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Symptoms of dehydration
There are many warning signs that you may be dehydrated, including:
• Dark urine, or little or no urine
• Dry mouth
• Extreme thirst
• Anxiety or confusion
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Lack of tears
If you begin to experience these symptoms, you are likely already dehydrated. Don’t wait until these symptoms appear to hydrate your body. Instead, work to stay well-hydrated to avoid these symptoms and other serious medical complications.
Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated:
Drink plenty of water. Six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is the general recommendation for adults; however, if you spend much time outdoors working or exercising, you may need more. If you are outside a lot during the summer, aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water. (If you weigh 200 pounds, try to drink 100 ounces of water each day.) You should be drinking enough that you urinate every two to four hours, and your urine is light in color.
Avoid dehydrating beverages. Although they are liquids, alcohol and caffeine can actually lead to dehydration. If you feel thirsty, reach for water instead of other dehydrating beverages. To ensure you’re drinking enough water, take 10 gulps of water every time you need a drink.
Consider other hydrating foods and drinks. Fruit and vegetable juices, milk, broths and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water you get each day. Foods like watermelon, oranges, tomatoes, celery, cucumber and lettuce also contain water and can help keep your body hydrated.
Keep your water close. Keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day. To cut down on cost, purchase a reusable water bottle.
Flavor your water. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding fresh sliced fruit, such as lemon, lime or berries, to your water.
Drink water with meals. Whether you're eating at home or at a restaurant, drink at least one glass of water with each meal.
Drink before and after a workout. Before you head out for a workout, drink a glass of water. Drink as needed during your workout, and again after you’re done exercising. To be sure you’re drinking the right amount of water after a workout, weigh yourself before and after your workout, and drink the amount of weight lost.
Dehydration can be dangerous for your health, but it can be avoided. If you begin to notice symptoms of dehydration, stop what you’re doing and drink a glass of water. If symptoms do not quickly improve, seek immediate medical attention.