Hydration is key
When we sweat, we also lose water and electrolytes (i.e., nutrients such as sodium, chloride, potassium). Drinking enough water and having enough electrolytes is necessary for our bodies to function properly. This is why it is so important to stay hydrated; a dehydrated person is likely to start having symptoms of heat illness.
An average person on an average day needs about 8 glasses of water. But if you’re out in the hot sun or are exercising a lot, you need a lot more than that. You can also become dehydrated if you are vomiting, have diarrhea, or are sweating a lot. People who are elderly, very young, taking certain medications, or have a chronic illness have a greater risk for dehydration.
Tips to staying hydrated this summer
- Set a goal of how many cups of water you will drink per day; work up to your goal slowly to make it more achievable.
- Make sure to have at least one glass of water before and after exercise.
- Always keep a water bottle on hand.
- Try adding sliced fruit like lemons, limes, berries, or oranges to your water for fun flavors.
- If you have a smartphone, you can download the free TapIt Metro DC smartphone app to find establishments in Maryland, DC, and Virginia where you can fill up your reusable water bottles while on the go!
If you think you’re dehydrated, drink small amounts of water over a period of time. Drinking too much all at once can overload your stomach and make you throw up.
Signs of dehydration in adults include
- Excessive thirst
- Urinating less often than usual
- Dark-colored urine
- Dry skin
- Feeling tired
- Dizziness and fainting
If you are experiencing these symptoms and they don’t go away after drinking or getting out of the heat, you may be at risk of a heat stroke or heat exhaustion, both of which are serious medical conditions. Signs of a heat stroke include dry skin, a rapid pulse, and confusion. Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, rapid breathing, and a fast, weak pulse. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical treatment right away.
Thanks, NIH for this important information.