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How to Avoid Dehydration This Summer

Especially during the summer months, drinking water is essential to our overall health and well-being. Every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies needs water to work properly, and water is used to maintain body temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. As the weather gets warmer, and we spend more time in the sun, we should focus on consuming an adequate amount of fluids.

To maintain proper hydration, Jessica Ottenweller-Butcher, M.D., of Cameron Family Medicine says most people should drink six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day, depending on individual needs. However, few Americans meet these goals, putting us at risk of dehydration.

Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than you take in. While it is normal to lose some water throughout the day, dehydration can be accelerated in several ways, including by insufficient water consumption, vomiting or heavy perspiration.

Dr. Ottenweller-Butcher says you may not experience any symptoms from mild dehydration. But as dehydration gets worse, it can cause such symptoms as:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Less need to urinate, or having dark yellow or brown urine
  • A dry mouth or cracked lips
  • No tears when crying
  • Feeling tired or confused
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • Eyes that look sunken in the face
  • Increased heart rate

How to Prevent Dehydration

To help prevent dehydration in the summertime, Dr. Ottenweller-Butcher has the following advice:

  • Take breaks when exercising
  • Drink enough fluids, such as water or sports drinks, so you do not feel thirsty
  • Exercise early in the day before it gets too hot outside
  • Wear loose, lightweight clothing
  • Avoid hot cars

If you’re a parent, make sure your children follow these guidelines and drink plenty of fluids, especially when sick or feverish. Also, give children extra fluids when they are playing outside.

If you struggle to reach your water intake goals, some tips and tricks can help you increase your daily consumption of water, including:

Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce your costs and your carbon footprint, carry a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day.

Add some flavor. If you don’t like drinking plain water, try adding a slice of lemon, lime or other fruit to your drink.

Drink water before, during and after a workout.

When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger, so try drinking a glass of water before reaching for a snack. This can also be a healthy way to feel full and may result in weight loss.

Drink on a schedule. If you have trouble remembering to drink water, try drinking on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch and dinner and when you go to bed. Or, drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.

Choose water. Instead of carbonated or sugary drinks, choose water at a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free!

By following Dr. Ottenweller-Butcher’s advice, you can prevent dehydration and ensure you and your loved ones have a safe and healthy summer.

For more information about Dr. Ottenweller-Butcher, visit Cameron Family Medicine.

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