As we approach the Arizona summer, it will be important to prepare for the heat. Dry heat is still heat! Arizona averages around 95 degrees and can reach up to 120 degrees in the peak summer months. During hot temperatures, our bodies naturally try to cool themselves down through the process of sweating. When you lose too much fluid and electrolytes from sweat, it can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can have severe side effects if not cared for immediately. The goal of this post is to introduce the topic of hydration as well as some recommendations to stay hydrated this summer.
Why is water important?
Hydration involves replacing the fluids that are lost through sweating and other bodily functions. Water in our bodies has many roles including regulating body temperature, carrying nutrients and water to cells, protecting organs, etc. When the fluids are not replaced properly, dehydration can occur. Dehydration involves losing more fluid than you are taking in. In severe circumstances, some of these processes can be affected when the body does not have enough fluid.
During dehydration, our mood and productivity levels can be impacted as well. When water is not replaced correctly the brain feels foggy, we may experience irritability, and can even think we are hungry, when in reality we just need water. Factors that affect hydration status include not drinking enough water, the temperature outside, exercise (especially in hot weather), and our diets. It is important to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to maintain our hydration status during the heat. People who are at a greater risk of dehydration include babies and infants, older adults, people with long-term health conditions, and athletes. If you or someone you know is included in these groups, then be aware of the recommendations and the early signs to thrive this summer!
How to stay hydrated:
Do not let the heat hold you back from your summer bucket list. Instead, follow some simple recommendations to beat the heat. Some tips for staying cool this summer include staying in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible, drinking more water than usual, limiting outdoor activity during the peak heat hours of the day, and checking the news for heat advisories.
Hydration is important all year long, but especially in the summer heat. It will be helpful to know some of the early signs of dehydration which include feeling thirsty and lightheaded, dry mouth, dark-colored urine, and fatigue. If you or someone you know feels these symptoms this summer, then immediately hydrate. Drinking small amounts of water frequently may be helpful if nausea or vomiting occurs. Dehydration can be a risk factor for heat exhaustion as well. This occurs when the body cannot cool itself down. As mentioned before, water in the body plays an important role in lowering body temperature. Staying hydrated can prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration and the symptoms involved.
Water is an Arizonan’s best friend during the summer months. Stay alert and make smart decisions to beat the heat! For more wellness tips and nutrition advice, contact one of our registered dietitians.
https://www.hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/services/health/texercise/importance-ofhydration.pdf https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/extremeheat/index.html https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/nutritional/dehydration https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21480-heat-exhaustion