Oh, the joys of summer! After all the rains Oklahoma saw this spring, it’s strange to think that the dog days of summer are just around the corner. As our temperatures soar, and we spend more time outside, it’s important to make sure we’re staying hydrated.
Experts estimate as much as 75% of the American population could be suffering from chronic dehydration. Symptoms include fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.
During summer months, though, we are especially concerned not with chronic dehydration, but acute dehydration. Symptoms of mild dehydration can range from dry mouth and fatigue to dry skin, headaches, and decreased urine output. Symptoms of severe dehydration are more alarming – extreme thirst, sunken eyes, rapid heartbeat, and skin that doesn’t bounce back to normal if you pinch it.
You’ve probably heard that the best gauge of your hydration is the color of your urine – the lighter it is, the better hydrated you are. This is especially important to pay attention to during the hot summer months, especially if you are outside in Oklahoma’s extreme temperature.
Teens and their parents should be extra careful during the hottest days. Teenagers typically have lower body weight, and are not as able to recognize their symptoms.
The easiest way to avoid dehydration is deceptively simple – stay hydrated. Drinking enough water to stave off dehydration is far easier than rehydrating. Drink two or three cups of water before exercising, and be sure to keep drinking during and after your workout.
If you find yourself dehydrated, cool water is your first line of defense, hydrating your body and keeping your temperature down. Stay away from the sodas when you’re trying to replace lost water.
If you become confused, dizzy, or light-headed because of dehydration, don’t hesitate to seek out medical help.
Enjoy the summer weather, but be sure take in plenty of water when the heat and humidity turn up!