Simple ways to stay hydrated this summer & signs of dehydration you should look out for
Living in Texas has its perks: beautiful sunrises, scenic landscape views, and sunshine all year round. But let’s not forget a recurring wave (heat, that is) we’re faced with every year: triple-degree temperatures.
Although us Texans know how to beat the heat by making the most of it, we often forget to check in with ourselves, especially if we’re soaking up the rays by spending the day at the beach, fishing, or hiking.
What is dehydration?
According to WebMD, dehydration happens when your body doesn’t have as much water as it needs. Without enough water, your body can’t function properly. You can have mild, moderate, or severe dehydration depending on how much fluid is missing from your body.
Who is at risk of dehydration?
Anyone is susceptible to dehydration, however, there are a few categories of individuals who should take particular precautions. This includes pregnant women, those with chronic illnesses (e.g.. diabetes), infants, young children, and older individuals.
Here are ways you can stay hydrated this summer:
Some of these steps might seem like a no-brainer, but a reminder never hurts!
Drinking water throughout the day, even when you aren’t thirsty, is the most important way to combat dehydration. More specifically, eight eight-ounce glasses a day—or more—will get the job done. An easy way to stay on top of this is by investing in a reusable water bottle. They even have water bottles that help you stay on track of your water intake.
Eat water-rich food
On top of your water intake, you can add more to H2O to your diet by eating fruits and veggies. A few fruits that have a high water content are watermelon, peaches, cantaloupe, strawberries, and pineapples. A few veggies that have high water content are cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery.
Water isn’t always enticing, especially to our kiddos. A way to combat this is by adding flavor to your water: lemons, limes, strawberries, cucumbers, etc. Feeling extra fancy? Start drinking sparkling water when you don’t feel like reaching for your water bottle.
Drink less alcohol in the heat
Liquids like alcohol, soda, and caffeinated beverages tend to dehydrate you at a quicker rate than normal. If you choose to go to a happy hour in the heat, just remember to drink water in between your cocktails.
Stay inside when it gets too hot or take breaks
Summer days don’t have to be spent outside 24/7. You can find some fun indoor activities that keep you and your family just as entertained: going to the movies, going to an arcade, going to the library, etc.
Plan around the heat
The sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. A way you can avoid excessive UV exposure is planning your outdoor activities early in the morning or later on in the evening.
Dressing lightly doesn’t just apply to the material of your clothes, it also applies to the colors. Lighter colors can help you stay cooler than darker colors, which tend to absorb heat. In addition to light-colored clothes, wearing light-weight, loose-fitted clothing will allow your skin to breathe more.
Signs you’re dehydrated:
Dehydration can sneak up on you in different ways and, unfortunately, isn’t always the easiest to spot. Aside from the noticeable thirst and dizziness, there are a few signs you may not be looking out for.
Mild to moderate dehydration symptoms:
- Darker-than-normal urine
- Constant thirst
- Feeling dizzy and/or lightheaded
- Dry mouth, lips, eyes, and/or skin
- Heat intolerance or chills
Severe dehydration symptoms:
- High heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Sunken eyes
- Poor skin elasticity
- Lack of urine
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these severe symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
If you are dehydrated, here’s what you can do:
If you notice any of the symptoms in yourself or your loved one, act fast. If you take the following steps, you could stabilize your fluid levels.
Drink carbohydrate/electrolyte-filled drinks. Recommended choices are Gatorade or Pedialyte.
Try to cool off. If you’re outside and able to go inside, go inside and grab a cool, wet towel and place it on your forehead or the back of your neck. If you are stuck outdoors, find shade, a fan, or any cool body of water.
Avoid extreme temperature change. If you are dehydrated and expose your body to excessive cold water, whether from drinking, jumping into a body of water, etc., you can risk worsening your symptoms..
Reach for a popsicle or ice cubes. Pro-tip: frozen sports drinks make a great popsicle alternative and will hydrate you quicker than a normal popsicle!
If you’re worried you or your kids may get dehydrated, plan ahead and check your town’s heat index. And make sure to monitor your symptoms and if they worsen to the point of severe dehydration, visit your nearest emergency room.
For more health tips, follow along on our Hospitality Health ER blog. We’ve recently covered “5 Common Digestive Problems and Their Recommended Remedies” and “All You Need To Know About Giving Blood”. For giveaways, updates, and COVID-19 tips, like us on Facebook and Instagram.