It doesn’t matter what season it is, when it gets hot, it gets hot. And when the heat is out, you start to sweat.
Let’s face it. Sweat is stinky and sometimes uncomfortable. Sweat is also a normal body function that serves to keep our body temperature normal. Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist at Tulane University in New Orleans says that when body temperatures rise for any reason, the sweat glands kick in to produce more sweat. In order to maintain normal body temperature, as well as a healthy body ,we need to be hydrated to account for the increased fluid loss during summer and fall.
Are you drinking enough water before your morning workout, or during your afternoon walk? What about enough water before you head off to work or school during the day’s activities? Forgetting to take your water bottle or forgetting to drink water throughout the day can affect your hydration and cause problems we can all do without.
Here are some simple signs to look out for that you may not be getting enough water:
- Bad Breath – Saliva helps to break down bacteria, when your low on saliva your breath stinks
- Yellow Urine – Urine is lighter when you are well hydrated
- Headache / muscle cramps – Essential salts such as potassium and sodium are lost when you are dehydrated, this can cause headaches and muscle cramps (legs especially)
- Fatigue – With dehydration your body suffers increased muscle soreness and fatigue
- Fewer tears / or less urination – If you have dry eyes or don’t need to pee it can be a sign of trouble
- Constipation – Lack of water decrease digestion leading to hardened stool
- Lightheadedness – Blood pressure drops and can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness
Clearly lack of water can lead to some serious issues and some unhealthy concerns. So what can you do to stay hydrated during the heat?
- Know how much water you should be drinking daily:
- US National Research Council recommends 1 mL of water for every calorie you eat. So if you eat 2,000 calories you drink 2,000 mL.
- Drink more water when you increase activity
- Add flavor to your water naturally – add fresh fruit, or splashes of lemon or lime juice
- Drink a glass of water with your meals
- Keep a refillable water bottle at your desk at work – and use it
- Carry a water bottle everywhere!
- Use a 12-ounce glass instead of an 8-ounce glass at home for your water
- Take water in your care when driving
- Remember that caffeine DEHYDRATES you. So if you drink any coffee or sodas you have to drink extra water.
Waiting until your thirsty is not a good approach. If you are experiencing thirst you are probably already behind so keep water nearby and stay hydrated while you enjoy your day.
Need help in figuring out how much water and food you should be consuming each day? Schedule an appointment with a primary care physician.
If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for a new primary care physician, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting http://www.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/.
By Sandy Dimas