Ah, sweet summertime—time for sunshine, beach trips, and outdoor adventures. Summer is here, but with all the fun also comes the potential for dangerously high temperatures. Between increased outdoor time, exertion, and the highest temps we see all year, dehydration is a real risk that poses real danger. Getting hydrated and staying hydrated is the key to keeping you healthy this summer so you can soak up all the fun.
Here are five tips for staying hydrated this summer.
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re likely already dehydrated. The best way to combat dehydration is to avoid becoming dehydrated in the first place! Make it a habit to drink a glass of water when you first wake up and with each snack or meal throughout the day.
There are also tools like a water bottle to help you track your water intake throughout the day or even apps that will send notifications when it’s time to take a few swigs.
To make water more enjoyable to drink, try adding a squeeze of lemon, or infuse your water with other fruits and herbs like strawberries or watermelon and basil or mint.
Elevate your hydration with electrolytes.
Drinking the recommended amount of water each day is great, but adding electrolytes is even better. When we sweat in the sweltering summer heat, we lose more than just water — we also lose important minerals, called electrolytes, that help keep us hydrated. Electrolytes balance the amount of water in our bodies, help maintain pH levels, transport nutrients in and out of cells, and support the function of our nerves, muscles, and organs.
There are dozens of electrolyte beverages on the market, and it can be hard to know which is the best choice. When choosing one to refuel and rehydrate this summer, look for one with sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, and even small amounts of sugar. Sugar, in small amounts, helps increase the amount of water absorbed by your body and can accelerate rehydration.
Eat hydrating foods.
About 20% of your daily water intake amounts may come from the food you consume. Since you may also get your necessary fluids from food items, you should pay special attention to what you are eating and how hydrating it is for you. A good list to start with includes:
- Cucumber: 96.73% water
- Lettuce: 95.64% water
- Watermelon: 91.45% water
- Strawberries: 90.95% water
- Cantaloupe: 90.15% water
- Peaches: 88.87% water
- Oranges: 86.75% water
- Pineapple: 86% water
- Apples: 85.56% water
Not only will these fruits and vegetables keep you hydrated, but they boast a number of additional health benefits for your mind and body. Don’t see any fruits or vegetables that please your palate? There are several other food items to consider for high water content, so you’re sure to find some that you can easily implement into your diet.
It’s easy to get sweaty and hot in temperatures at or nearing triple digits — especially when heavy humidity comes into play. Regulating your body’s temperature will help you retain the liquids you’ve consumed and protect you from health complications, such as heat stroke. If you find yourself overheating, take a few precautionary measures to cool yourself down efficiently and effectively.
- Wear a hat and loose, breathable, cotton clothing
- Carry a sun-blocking umbrella or parasol
- Bring along a portable fan or misting device
- Locate the nearest shady spot or building with AC
- Place a cooling towel on pressure points (neck, wrists, ankles, elbows)
Avoid dehydrating drinks.
As much as you may love them, any drinks containing caffeine, alcohol, and high amounts of sugar are dehydrating for the body. If you’re headed outside, skip the Starbucks, spiked seltzers or soda in favor of water or coconut water. You can always enjoy these beverages later – once your body is feeling replenished and at a lower temperature.
If you find yourself mildly dehydrated this summer or need additional advice or guidance on staying cool and hydrated, find the nearest Piedmont Urgent Care location here or schedule a virtual visit. We’re here when you need us 365 days a year and want to help you stay well this summer!