Summer months mean higher temperatures, plenty of outdoor activity and, of course, sweating. Feeling thirsty yet? The sensation of thirst is one of the earliest signs you may be dehydrated. Another early warning sign is the color of your urine; the darker it is, the more dehydrated you are.
Many people over the age of 60 may not feel thirsty as often as they did when they were younger. This is because the sense of thirst naturally declines with age and as a result, older adults have an increased risk of dehydration. Whether you’re a child participating in summer sports, an adult working in the yard or an older adult enjoying the porch swing, it’s just as important to recognize the signs of dehydration as it is to learn how to prevent dehydration.
How to prevent dehydration
Here are the five best ways to stay hydrated during the summer:
- Drink when you feel thirsty
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your daily activities and forget to respond to thirst cues but be sure to listen to your body when it’s asking for more fluids.
- Check the inside of your mouth
Does your mouth feel dry inside? Are you having a difficult time producing saliva? These are two very good indicators that it is time to take a nice long drink of water.
- Drink more when you’re exercising
The more you exert yourself, the more water your body needs. The American Council on Exercise, recommends drinking 17-20 ounces of fluid 2-3 hours before exercising, another 8 ounces 20-30 minutes before exercising, 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes while exercising and 8 ounces when you are finished.
- Drink your electrolytes
If you are engaging in physical activities for longer than 60 minutes, you might need to replenish your electrolytes (e.g., minerals like sodium, calcium and potassium) as well as fluids. Drink 4-8 ounces of a low-carb, electrolyte-containing beverage (e.g., coconut nut water or sports drink) every 15-20 minutes. Just sure to select one that has low sugar content.
- Eat hydrating foods throughout the day
Fill your plate with a healthy helping of water-rich foods like watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, oranges, cucumber, lettuce and zucchini to help prevent dehydration.
How to stay hydrated during the summer
Your body depends on water to function and survive. Not only does it help regulate your body temperature, but it also keeps your joints lubricated, prevents infections, delivers nutrients to your cells and keeps your organs functioning properly.
Here’s how to stay hydrated during the summer:
- Light-colored clothes
Tight, dark-colored clothing absorbs more heat and traps sweat, making it more difficult to cool the body. Instead, stay cool with loose-fitting, light-colored fabrics like cotton, linen, rayon or chambray.
- Sunglasses with UV protection
Be bold and don your brightly colored or festive shades this summer to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays to help keep them hydrated.
- Wide-brim sun hats
Wearing a hat that protects your head and face from the sun will help keep your body temperature lower, so you can stay cooler and more hydrated.
- Sunscreen and lip balm (at least SPF 15)
Anytime you leave the house, be sure to slather on plenty of sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 15 or higher to protect yourself from sunburn, which can exacerbate symptoms of dehydration.
If you’re experiencing dehydration symptoms that are severe or affecting your body’s ability to function (e.g., low blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, vomiting or diarrhea), visit Coastal Urgent Care of Ruston for immediate medical attention. IV fluid hydration can restore fluids and electrolytes that have been lost through sweating, vomiting and diarrhea. When you receive IV fluid therapy, the fluids enter your bloodstream directly, which means the positive effects of hydration begin immediately. IV fluid hydration will help you feel better faster than drinking water alone. We are open for walk-in appointments 7 days/week (Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sat – Sun, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.).