Warm weather brings with it thoughts of cool ocean breezes, napping in a hammock, and sipping a tall glass of lemonade. Now hold on to the mental image of that lemonade because summer is also a time to be wary of dehydration: the lack of sufficient water in the body.
Water is important to the body at all times, but especially in warm weather. It keeps the body from overheating. When you exercise, your muscles generate heat. To keep from burning up, your body needs to get rid of that heat. The main way the body discards heat in warm weather is through sweat. As sweat evaporates, it cools the tissues beneath. Lots of sweating reduces the body's water level, and this loss of fluid affects normal bodily functions.
Signs of dehydration
If you suspect that someone is dehydrated, seek immediate medical attention.
Signs of dehydration include:
How to avoid dehydration
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, to avoid dehydration, active people should drink at least 16- 20 ounces of fluid one to two hours before an outdoor activity. After that, you should consume 6 to 12 ounces of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes that you are outside. When you are finished with the activity, you should drink more. How much more? To replace what you have lost: at least another 16 to 24 ounces (2- 3 cups) .
One way to make sure you are properly hydrated is to check your urine. If it's clear, pale or straw-colored, it's OK. If it's darker than that, keep drinking!
Adequate hydration will keep your summer activities safer and much more enjoyable. If you need to increase your fluid intake, keep an extra pitcher of water with fresh lemons, limes, or cucumber in the refrigerator.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Water: Meeting Your Daily Fluid Needs. © Copyright 1995-2012 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.
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