3 Tips to Avoid Dehydration in the Summer
If you stay adequately hydrated during the summer, you're more likely to enjoy your summertime experiences. Be aware of the signs of dehydration, and take steps to rehydrate as soon as you notice them in yourself or in a loved one who can't take adequate care of himself.
Watch for Signs of Dehydration
Fatigue, light-headedness and loss of appetite are some of the most immediate signs of dehydration. Flushed skin can also indicate dehydration. If you notice your urine is becoming dark, you're becoming dehydrated. Healthy urine is generally clear or straw-colored. If you notice darker urine, drink a full glass of water right away.
Keep Water on Hand
Keep water available at all times, especially if you're caring for an elderly person or young child who may not notice becoming thirsty or who may not take action to stay hydrated without encouragement and help. Make sure to drink water every time you eat, and drink a full glass of water whenever you take any medication. Chill water in the refrigerator so the water is always available and refreshing. If you get bored with water, consider flavoring it with a little fruit juice, or drink coconut water or sugar-free lemonade. On a very hot day, make sugar-free popsicles, and suck on them to get your full supply of water.
Drink water before you undertake any strenuous physical activity. Do not wait until you're hot and sweaty. Bring a sports bottle of water when you exercise, and set your exercise timer to make sure you take a swig every 15 minutes or so. Drink another 2 to 3 cups after you're done with your activity. Drink a sports drink if your exercise session lasts more than one hour; that level of exercise often means you're losing sodium and potassium that a sports drink can replace.
Be Aware of Drinks or Activities That Cause Extra Dehydration
Avoid alcohol when you're dehydrated. On a hot day when you're likely to become dehydrated, accompany any alcohol with water, since alcohol can cause further dehydration. Caffeine also exacerbates dehydration, so stay away from colas, coffee and tea during hot weather. Fruit juices can upset your stomach when you're fighting dehydration, so dilute them with water or avoid them.
Your body always needs water, but in the heat of summer, the need can become more urgent. In addition, the very young and the elderly are not always aware of their need for hydration; in the elderly, inadequate hydration can result in low blood pressure or urinary tract infections. If you become ill during the summer, you typically need extra hydration as well. Follow these tips to stay well hydrated as the weather heats up.