Summer barbeques, fun-filled days at the theme park, and afternoons at the pool or beach, all sound like a fantastic time with family and friends. With all of the sun, heat, and hoopla, we may forget one extremely important detail. Sunblock? Yes, but actually another essential detail of summer fun! Water! Water! Water!
When looking for a cold refreshing beverage, beware! Your first instinct may be to reach for a cold beer or refreshing cocktail. Refreshing, yes! Hydrating, no! Actually these alcohol filled beverages are dangerously dehydrating!
We don’t want to spoil your fun, but we do want to encourage you to choose wisely. Know when it’s okay to lift a frosty mug and when it’s time to reach for a cold glass of water.
Alternate your beverage of choice with 8oz or more of water to prevent dehydration.
Know the signs of dehydration:
- First – feelings of thirst, dry lips, flush skin, fatigue
- Second – feelings of nausea, dizziness, emotional instability, fatigue
- Third – increased heart rate, loss of coordination and speech, labored breathing
If the problem persists, you will need to seek immediate medical attention, severe dehydration may lead to death.
Understand what fluids put you at risk of dehydration:
- Alcohol- The body considers alcohol to be toxic, so it flushes the toxins (a.k.a your favorite alcoholic beverage) out of the body via your urine. Excessive urination causes the body to lose too much water and the essential body salts (sodium, potassium, calcium bicarbonate, phosphate) needed to keep the body cooled and hydrated.
- Large quantities of coffee and caffeinated drinks and sodas- Caffeinated beverages also increase your need to frequently urinate, again causing a loss in your body’s supply of water and electrolytes.
So just remember that if you’re sweating, you need to replenish your body’s water source. Choosing alcohol or caffeinated beverages will cause additional water loss, ultimately making it easier for your body to overheat.
Keep your summertime activities safe and well hydrated with these helpful tips:
Remember… the more you sweat and urinate, the more you need to replace.
- Plan ahead; drink water prior to the start of your outdoor activities
- Bring plenty of water in a cooler
- Eat a lot of water-rich fruits and vegetables- most contain 80-90% water
- If drinking alcohol, alternate each alcoholic beverage with a full glass of water
- Use sweat as a red flag warning! When you sweat you lose even more water, therefore you need to drink more water!
- Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to drink
- Drink water even if you are not feeling too thirsty
- Add lemon and or cucumber slices to water for refreshment
- Check the color of your urine first thing in the morning, if your urine is yellow tint or darker, you need more water
- Encourage the kids to take a water break
Enjoy the water in the pool and the water in your body! Cheers to a wonderful water filled summer!
Remember this summer to choose wisely, and of course always drink responsibly.
By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC
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