Well, it finally got here: summer…well, at least weather that feels like summer: hot, humid days and thunderstorms at night. This week is supposed to be another hot one. Because we’ve had a pretty cool summer so far, it’s easy to forget how important it is to stay hydrated and cool when the temperatures heat up.
I talked with my friend Dr. Anya (Anya Lukasewycz, M.D., the medical educator for Abbot Northwestern Hospital’s internal medicine residency program) about what we should and shouldn’t do during heat waves. She gave me these tips for staying safe during the hot weather:
- Drink fluids before you are thirsty. By the time you’re thirsty, your body already is dehydrated.
- Avoid caffeinated and sugary beverages, as well as alcohol while in the sun or heat. Caffeine acts as a diuretic and can cause you to lose fluids quickly.
- Drink before, during and after exercise. For a rule of thumb: adults should drink 2 cups 2 hours before exercise, 1-2 cups 15 minutes prior to exercise and 1/2 to 1 cup every fifteen minutes during activity.
- Children are more vulnerable to the effect of dehydration than adults. Encourage active children to drink often. Keep plenty of bottles of water on hand. (Serving beverages at moderate temperature may encourage greater fluid intake.)
- Keep kids out of direct sun and in shade as much as possible.
- Eat foods that have high water content, such as watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and peaches.
- Signs of dehydration include: dry mouth, excessive thirst, infrequent or dark urination, muscle weakness or cramping, dizziness and headache.
Enjoy these hot summer days and nights and stay happy and hydrated!