Around this time of the year, temperatures are expected to increase. Summer is a time when there are lots of outdoor activities leaving you exposed to the sun. It is also the time when children are home from school and will be spending a considerable amount of time outside. While physical activities and outdoor activities are highly encouraged, it is important that protective measures are taken to prevent excessive exposure to the sun and to prevent dehydration.
Dehydration can range from a mild thirst to more serious conditions such as dizziness and headaches. Some symptoms of dehydration are; dry mouth, dark urine, sleepiness/lack of energy, confusion, dizziness, headaches and extreme thirst.
If you feel you may be getting dehydrated, it’s important not to wait until symptoms appear. Try to keep well hydrated throughout the day, especially if it’s hot. If you feel the symptoms of dehydration coming on, take action and drink plenty of water to boost your hydration levels and stay healthy and active.
Dehydration is a sign that your body, organs, cells and tissues need more water to function properly. When the weather is hot, we lose more water via sweating, so it’s very important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, particularly during these summer months. Exercise can also lead to dehydration as we sweat more when exercising and lose electrolytes used to keep the body functioning. As we get older, we may also be at a higher risk of dehydration as the brain may not be able to sense dehydration signs as easily.
The current recommended daily water limits vary, but many people aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, which is a reasonable goal for most people. As with everything however, different people need different amounts of water depending on their level of activity.
Checking your urine can be a good indicator of hydration levels and if your urine is colourless or light yellow, you know that your body is well-hydrated. If your urine is dark yellow or amber coloured however, it may be time to drink a bit more water as this can be a sign of dehydration.
Drinking water thorughout the day may be something that can slip your mind, particularly if you are busy.
Here are a few handy tips for keeping well hydrated throughout the day.
l Keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day that can be easily refilled if necessary. Purchasing water constantly can be expensive as well as creating plastic bottle waste, so invest in a reusable bottle and fill from the tap.
l If you aren’t a fan of plain old tap water try spicing it up with some fruits such as lemon or strawberries to give a bit of flavour.
l Always drink water before, during and after exercise.
Remember to stay hydrated.
Dr. Rosmond Adams, MD; MSc (Public Health); M.S (Bioethics) is a medical doctor and a public health specialist with training in bioethics and ethical issues in medicine, the life sciences and research. He is a lecturer of medical ethics and Research Methods.
He is the Head of Health Information, Communicable Disease and Emergency Response at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). He is also a member of the World Health Organization Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.
(The views expressed here are that of the writer and not of any organizations). You may contact him at [email protected]