August 30, 2018
By Jennifer Netzband
The summer heat can be dangerous especially if you’re outside or don’t have air conditioning. One simple thing everyone can do to stay safe is stay hydrated.
“You should aim to drink six to eight glasses of water a day,” says David Apostol, RDN at Hackensack Meridian Health Bayshore Medical Center. “But you should aim to drink even more if you’re outside in the summer.”
To ensure you’re hydrated, try drinking a glass – about 8 ounces – of water every hour. If you’re preparing to go to the beach or head outside where it’s hot, make sure to have a glass of water 15 to 20 minutes before you walk out the door.
“Some people find water boring so add a hint of flavor with fresh fruits like lemon, lime or strawberries,” says Apostol. “You can also turn to other drinks to stay hydrated, but sports drinks and seltzers often contain other ingredients that you might not be aware of.”
Sports drinks often contain added sugar while others contain caffeine which can actually be dehydrating.
“Look at the drink’s nutritional label before you buy,” says Meaghin Svenson, RDN at Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center. “Some sports drink companies have lower calorie varieties that can quench your thirst without the extra sugar and carbohydrates.”
Signs of Dehydration
If you don’t drink enough water while out in the heat and sun, it can lead to dehydration. The following are the most common symptoms of dehydration. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
- Less-frequent urination
- Dry skin
- Dry mouth and mucous membranes
- Increased heart rate and breathing
Children and people over the age of 60 are particularly susceptible to dehydration. In children, additional symptoms may include:
- Dry mouth and tongue
- No tears when crying
- No wet diapers for several hours
- Sunken abdomen, eyes, or cheeks
- Skin that does not flatten when pinched and released
The symptoms of dehydration may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.