Over the last couple of days, I have had a couple of friends talk to me about getting sick from the heat. Both were pretty sure they had been dehydrated. One commented that she was surprised it happened so fast.
I have been dehydrated to the point of illness before, and I can say it can hit one all of a sudden.
At this time of the year, it is really important that folks pay attention to how much liquid and what kind of liquid they are taking in especially if they are going to be outside. I think it is easy to remember that if one is doing lots of lawn work, exercising or working, but we don't always think about it when we are doing everyday things like running errands or walking the dog.
Being thirsty in a sign of dehydration, but often by the time we want to reach for something to drink, we are already low on the fluid the body needs to keep going. Other signs of being low on water include muscle cramps, fatigue, feeling light headed and lack of sweat, according to WebMD
People who take certain medications can dehydrate more easily that others and should be more vigilant during these hottest days of the year. And those who find themselves doing things out in the heat that they don't normally do should as well. In fact, we should all stop and consider our hydration level with the temps climb into the upper 90s.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine say that men should drink about 15.5 cups of water or 3.7 liters a day and women should drink about 11.5 cups or 2.7 liters a day. Some of that liquid can come from others things but people should be careful about drinking sodas, tea and other drinks that can actually rob the body of nutrients it needs.
Many people find it hard to drink plain water though. So try adding some lemon juice or slices to the water. If lemon is not that big a thrill, go for cucumber or berries. Or make tea but not as strong as you might have done in the past and try skipping some of that sugar. I know, I know, sweet tea is a practically a religion in these here parts, but it really does not hydrate as well as other things.
And while lots of folks like to an adult beverage at the end of the day or on a really hot day, those things can really take the body backwards in terms of hydration. So make sure to keep that water handy as we go through this next month or so. Maybe fall will come along and we will all be dreaming of hot apple cider and hot chocolate soon.