Why is Hydration Important?
With more than 600 people dying from extreme heat every year, it’s important to know the keys to dehydration! Staying hydrated can be as easy. Choosing foods and beverages that keep you replenished during these hot, humid days are what will keep you from heat-related illnesses. Chronic dehydration can even lead to an increased risk of kidney stones! No thank you!
So since most of us are fortunate to have access to water, heat-related deaths and illnesses are easily preventable, as long as you keep informed!
But… It’s Minnesota!
Even though our winters are well known to break those record lows, summer brings about breaking record highs!
However, some of us truly enjoy the warm breaks and summertime in Minnesota means taking FULL advantage of the sunshine! And embracing the heat, while it’s here!
We’re known to enjoy so many activities – boating, swimming, hiking, running, powerwalking, gardening, grilling out… just to name a few.
As the Heat Rises, Do We Drink Enough Water?
Drinking enough fluids is one of the most important ways to prevent heat illness. But is water enough?
Taking measures to stay cool, keep hydrated and be informed will help to prevent heat illnesses.
High humidity weather means the sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly… keeping your body from releasing heat as fast as it needs to.
What Factors Affects Our Hydration
Basically, your body needs to have the ability to cool itself!
Never be embarrassed by sweating – often we get apologies in our office for sweating.
Sweating is natural and good – we want our bodies to filter out and get rid of the toxins in our body!
How Much Do I Drink?
We get water daily from our foods, of course, the plain water, and other beverages we drink.
But how much should you be drinking? Average American has heard it’s 8 fluid oz/day, about 2 liters of water. But that’s a regular day!
It doesn’t include the high humidity or other factors that can influence hydration status…
- Age (kiddos to elderly)
- Heart disease
- Mental illnesses
- Poor circulation
- ** Prescription drugs
- ** Alcohol
The CDC even recommends if you work outside or are outside, drink 1 cup every 15-20 minutes.
This is about 1 quart which = 1/4 gallon = 1 L *
And keep in mind… by the time you feel thirsty, you are already behind in fluid replacement.
Water is plenty! As long as you eat regular meals to replace salt lost when sweating, you can drink as much water as you’d like!
Feel free to add a few pieces of Himalayan sea salt to your water to help replace electrolytes that you lose (definitely if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding!)
What to Avoid
Energy Drinks/High Caffeine
- Contains more caffeine than standard coffee, tea or soft drinks
- Drinking several / day can put excessive strain on your heart
- Even more with an increase in body heat!
- Can cause dehydration
- Drinking within 24 hours of working in the heat can increase the risk of heat illnesses
What Else Can Prevent Heat Illnesses?
Follow These Additional Recommendations
- Stay inside as much as you can
- Drink fluids – even when you’re not thirsty
- Be mindful of what you’re doing outside
- Dress smartly
- Light colors, loose clothes
- Take cool showers/baths
- Check on your loved ones!
- NEVER leave kids and pets in cars
- Let your pets walk on the grass… pavement gets HOT