Phew, this summer has been a hot and humid one, with record heat waves hitting many areas of the country! Although it is crucial to stay hydrated all throughout the year, it becomes even more important when the weather gets hot and when we are outdoors and engaging in more sweaty physical activity.
During the early stages of dehydration, symptoms are rare. If you are experiencing any of these, you are already dehydrated:
- Dry lips and mouth
- A small amount of saliva
- A small amount of dark yellow urine
- Headache or dizziness
- Dry skin
- Fatigue or sleepiness
If you aren’t sure, try the pinch test:
Pinch a section of skin on the top of your hand. If you are well hydrated, your skin will pop back quickly. The slower it pops back, the more dehydrated you are.
How to satisfy thirst, maintain electrolytes, and curb cravings:
Drink water! As a general rule, drink half of your body weight (in pounds), in ounces of fluid. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink approximately 100 ounces of water per day. If you are sweating more due to heat or exercise, you should increase your daily water intake. Monitor the color of your urine and aim for light yellow or straw-colored. Darker urine can indicate dehydration, while clear urine can indicate excess fluid intake and possible under-absorption of fluids.
Carrying a bottle of water with you when you leave home is one of the best ways to make sure you are staying hydrated on the go. Make sure to use a BPA-free water bottle like glass or stainless steel to refill from a clean, filtered water source. Reverse osmosis water filtration systems clean up water to the max, getting rid of heavy metals, pesticide residues, petroleum byproducts, and sodium from water softeners. High-quality carbon-block water filters are another good option to use in your home, as they remove most contaminants but allow important minerals to remain. Use the filtered/purified water for cooking, the icemaker, and for your pets, who are proportionately more effected by toxins in drinking water.
Are you one of those people that has to pee as soon as you drink a glass of water?
Your electrolytes may be low and you may be having trouble holding onto your fluids. You may be drinking plenty of water but are still dehydrated, because you don’t have the trace minerals you need to hold onto the fluids. Look for an electrolyte powder without added sugars or dyes or make your own homemade electrolyte drink. You can also make a delicious infusion by adding fresh fruits, vegetables, or herbs to water for added flavor and a boost of vitamins and minerals. Preparing an iced herbal tea is another great option for hydrating during the warmer weather, and counts toward your daily fluid intake. Talk to your nutritionist for more guidance on how to incorporate electrolytes into your daily routine.
Here are the warning signs that you have become severely dehydrated and need immediate medical attention:
- Rapid strong pulse
- High fever
It is important to stay hydrated for good health and fitness. Proper daily hydration can prevent dry skin issues, fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, constipation, and more. By keeping these tips in mind during this hot and humid weather, you will find it easier to stay hydrated and healthy all summer long.