The kids are on summer break and summer is in full swing, and as you might guess, temperatures in Indiana tend to climb the highest during the month of July. As you’re planning for the next family outing or kids’ sporting event, make sure you’re staying hydrated.
While the human body can tolerate dehydration for short periods of time (a few hours), ongoing dehydration will affect your overall health. In addition to feeling thirsty, signs of dehydration include dry mouth, dizziness and fatigue.
“Sometimes dehydration can occur simply from not drinking enough water,” says Dr. Mohamed Homsi, cardiac electrophysiologist at Indiana University Health West Hospital. “Other times it can be caused by diarrhea, vomiting, high fever or increased urination.”
Excessive sweating can also lead to dehydration.
“You lose water when you sweat, so that’s why it’s important to replace fluids in your body,” Dr. Homsi says. “During the summer months, as we’re spending more time outside, it’s even more important to intentionally hydrate our bodies.”
The amount of water you should drink each day is dependent on many factors, including your health and lifestyle. A good rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but some people may need more and others less. Talk with your doctor to find a good baseline for you.
Can sports drinks help with hydration? According to experts, there’s a time and place for sports drinks if you exercise regularly.
“When used as intended – to replenish fluids after true physical exertion- sports drinks can be a good option,” Dr. Homsi says. “Sports drinks can re-supply the body with fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrate calories that are lost during a workout.”
If you don’t need a sports drink, try to stick with water. Add flavoring to your water with lemon, lime mint or cucumber.
Drinking lots of water is a healthy habit that is often learned from parents. Teach kids to drink enough water so that their urine is almost clear. And yes, this means they’ll probably be going to the bathroom more often throughout the day.
Dehydration is a common problem, but the solution is an easy one. Drinking lots of water is part of a healthy lifestyle that can help avoid health problems and medical interventions later.