Keep Your Summer Safe With Adequate Hydration

Drinking enough fluids is necessary to prevent dehydration, especially during hot weather. Dehydration can occur in cold temperatures too if sweating occurs.

Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to heatstroke and death from dehydration.

We’ve heard “Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.”  But how much is enough? For adults, about 1 ½- 2 quarts per day (or 6-8 cups).   Water, diluted juices, fruit-flavored drinks and decaffeinated drinks can meet these needs.  Men may need even more. Avoid alcoholic drinks and caffeinated drinks because they pull water off the body.

Drink even before you feel thirsty.  By the time you feel thirst your body is already in a stage of hydration.

Being active in a hot environment requires extra fluid intake.

If your urine is pale yellow or straw-colored you’re probably hydrated.  If it’s darker than that, drink more.

Salt substitutes are not a substitute for fluids.  Instead, sports drinks may be needed for the athlete or very active worker in very hot or humid environments. These drinks can replace both sodium and potassium.

The College of Sports Medicine advises very active people and athletes to drink 16-20 ounces of fluid one to two hours before an outdoor activity.  Then, 6-12 ounces fluid should be consumed every 10-15 minutes.  Finally, when the activity is completed, another 16-24 ounces is recommended to replace losses.

If you are on a fluid restriction, take diuretics, or have a health condition ask your doctor about fluid needs during hot weather especially.

Fluid needs for children depends on their age.  Offer water and beverages throughout the day.   Encourage fluid intake even when not thirsty. When active outside on hot days offer at least 4 ounces every 15-20 minutes.

And never, ever leave a child unattended in a hot car.

Watery foods like juicy fruits and vegetables (oranges, watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, etc), milk, yogurt and soup help meet fluid needs too.  Snack on fruits and cool down with a salad for lunch!

Sources:  http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/dehydration/hic_avoiding_dehydration.aspx
http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbheat.htm


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