Hot Weather and Hydration: What You Need to Know

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to stay hydrated. In fact, it’s vital during the summer months when our bodies need more fluids to counteract the warmer temperatures and higher humidity.

“In addition to helping the body function properly, water helps regulate body temperature and flush out waste.  But most people do not drink enough water. Without sufficient water in your body, your cells get congested, your skin can’t detox, and your bladder and kidneys can’t work properly,” explains Melly Goodell, MD, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at MedStar Franklin Square Medical  Center.

“Good hydration is especially important if you are active or exercising in the heat. During hot and humid weather, the risk of dehydration and heat-related illnesses, including cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, is higher.  In severe cases, dehydration can be life-threatening. You need to consume water to replace the fluids lost during physical activity,” she adds.

Melly Goodell, MD

Whether you’re an avid athlete or just enjoy getting out during the summer months, Dr. Goodell offers these general suggestions to ensure you stay hydrated:

  • Drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. You may need more or less based on your age, weight, health and activity level so, if unsure, check with your doctor.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you and drink from it throughout the day, refilling as needed.
  • Drink water during meals. It will help you stay hydrated and make you feel more full, which can prevent overeating.
  • Not a fan of plain water? Consider flavoring it with veggies, citrus fruit or a splash of real fruit juice.
  • Drink water before, during and after exercise or any physical activity.

“Thirst isn’t always a reliable early indicator of the body’s need for water. Many people don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated. That’s why it’s so important  to increase water intake during hot weather,” Dr. Goodell notes. 

Signs of Dehydration

  • Extreme Heat
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Less Frequent Urination
  • Dark-colored Urine

Heat illnesses can be serious. Call your provider if symptoms persist.

 

Featured in Discover Summer 2017 Magazine.

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Baltimore, MD 21237

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