Summer is upon us and temperatures are rising. With the mercury in the thermometer climbing ever higher, it’s more important than ever to stay properly hydrated.
How Much Should I Drink?
The question of how much water that any particular person should drink has been the subject of much debate over the years. Some sources will say that everyone needs to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day. Others claim that the proper amount of water to drink is the patient’s weight halved, in ounces. As a general rule, most people can stay properly hydrated by simply drinking when they are thirsty, as long as the drink of choice is water or 100% fruit juice. Other drinks, like soda or beer, can contribute to dehydration.
Who should Drink More Water?
There are always exceptions to every rule. There are people who will need to drink extra water in order to stay hydrated. Some medical conditions, such as fever, diarrhoea, and vomiting contribute to dehydration. The treatment of kidney stones can also require the patient to drink extra water. It is often said that women who are pregnant are eating for two, but they do also need to drink enough water for two. And of course, anyone who is outside for extended periods of time, exercises, or is trying to lose weight should drink extra water.
Why is Hydration Important?
Star Trek: The Next Generation best described the human body as “ugly bags of mostly water.” Proper hydration is essential for most body function. The human body is unable to work properly without water. Water is a primary component in blood, and without it, the heart has to pump even harder to move the blood throughout the body. Water is also used to transport waste and toxins away from the muscles. Dehydration, especially during exercise, can cause or exacerbate muscle cramps caused by the build-up of lactic acid.
What can Dehydration Cause?
Dehydration is a very unpleasant state to experience. Mild dehydration can cause symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, swollen tongue, and other moderate symptoms. In severe cases, these can progress to lethargy, rapid heart rate, heart palpitations, sunken eyes, delirium or coma. If left untreated, the condition can cause permanent brain damage, seizures, and even death. The human body can last 2 to 3 weeks without food, but only 2 to 3 days without water.
Can Dehydration Be Prevented?
Yes. Dehydration is a completely preventable condition. The easiest way to do that is to simply make sure that people drink when they are thirsty, and drink extra water or fluids when exercising, spending time outside, or when ill. Water fountains and water coolers are a good way to remind people to drink when they are exerting themselves. People are more likely to drink when there is something easily accessible like water coolers or fountains.
Summer is the best time of year to enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities. No matter what summertime activities bring people outside, it is important to stay hydrated.