Summer may just be starting, but there have been record breaking temperatures in some parts of the country already this year. According to the National Weather Service, extreme heat kills more people than hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and lightning combined! Warmer days and nights challenge our bodies to stay hydrated. Dehydration due to warm temperature goes hand in hand. The human body’s response to heat is dependent on three factors: activity level, humidity, and temperature. To stay cool, your body excretes water through sweat. It also excretes water through urination, defecation, and breathing. The kidneys are mostly responsible for the regulation of the amount of water excreted from the body. When the amount of water excreted surpasses the amount of water taken in, dehydration occurs and often an electrolyte imbalance.
What are Common Signs of Dehydration?
- Increased thirst
- Poor skin turgor
- Skin tenting on forehead
- Dark urine (deep yellow or amber in color)
- Decreased urine output
- Sunken Eyes
- Dry mouth and nose
How Much Water is Needed?
The amount of water lost every 24 hours must be replaced to maintain health and body efficiency. Typically, 8-9 cups of water intake daily is enough water to stay hydrated for the average, healthy adult. Remember to consider other environmental factors when staying hydrated. Heavily excreting athletes and other people who sweat more may require more water to stay hydrated. In situations of extreme heat or sweating, thirst may not keep pace with the actual water requirements of the body. Drinking sugary drinks, tea, coffee alcohol causes the body to excrete more fluid and can hinder you body from fluid replenishing.
Tips to Staying Hydrated
- Download a free app on your smart phone to set daily reminders to drink more water. Search for Daily Water Free or Carbodriod to download. Or if you are interested in investing some money into a fancy, new water bottle, look for HidrateSpark. This bottle records every ounce as you sip and send the data directly to your phone using their app. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, investing in a water bottle with a built-in filter or one that fits on your faucet or pitcher.
- Keep a large container of water near. Good places to put this jug is at your desk, on the kitchen counter, or by the couch in the living room for a constant reminder to drink up.
- Drink a glass of water before you eat so you stay hydrated while eating less calories.
- Be creative by adding fruit and herbs to your water for a refreshing hydrating twist.
- Eat plenty of foods containing water.
*Disclaimer: this post is not used to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing signs of dehydration.