Beat the heat: Avoid dehydration and heat stroke

Is the heat making you feel a little cranky? You might not realize that you’re dehydrated. Even at low levels, dehydration can put a strain on your energy and your mood.

Dehydration can be mild, but even mild dehydration can affect your cognitive function, your mood and your ability to engage in day to day activities. It’s easy to lose fluids quickly in the heat of summer. And if you don’t replace lost fluids, you get dehydrated. You can usually reverse mild dehydration by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration requires immediate medical treatment.

Here are some easy ways to stay hydrated:

Drink water before and during outdoor exercise. Staying hydrated will help you maintain a normal body temperature. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.

Eat hydrating foods. Snack on watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes or cucumbers. Eat more green salads to take advantage of the water content in lettuce and veggies.

Always carry a bottle of water. Access to water will help you increase water intake. Drink a glass of water with each meal. It’s normal to feel the need to urinate every three hours. Your urine should be a light color like lemonade, not dark like apple juice.

You cannot overhydrate. Despite what you’ve heard on some radio shows, you can’t drink too much water. Your kidneys will help you get rid of any excess water. The only drawback is a few more trips to the bathroom.

It’s important to get to a doctor if you have extreme thirst, lack of urination, dizziness or confusion. Pay close attention to children and older adults; they are more prone to dehydration and often need help monitoring their fluid intake.

Watch out for these signs:

  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine (signals dehydration)
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Excessive sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Pale skin

SummerSafety_Cover170Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital want this to be your best summer ever, so we’ve created the Summer Safety Guide to help you and your family steer clear of summer bummers. Download here.

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