According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, on average, 1400+ residents will end up in the hospital this summer due to heat-related illnesses. Let’s make sure you are not one of them!
Staying hydrated during the summer is critical. Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in, which can seriously impact your body’s normal functions. As we get older, our body’s natural thirst mechanisms can begin to fail, which makes dehydration more likely.
Here are some common-sense, and easy-to-remember ways to stay hydrated:
If you wait until you are thirsty, you have already allowed yourself to become dehydrated. Anticipate the need for more water in your diet this summer. Try beginning your day with a 16 oz glass of water and consider skipping your coffee and drinks with alcohol, because both promote fluid loss.
How much water should you drink daily? Calculate ½ your body weight in ounces (e.g., a 130 lb woman should drink at least 65 ounces a day). And if you are outside or exercising in the heat, add 12 ounces every 30 minutes. Most of all, pay attention to how you are feeling.
Whether you are heading out for a walk, hike, swim, or drive, bring your water bottle. You may not realize it, but in our dry heat your sweat evaporates constantly and quickly, so you must replenish it. If your activity level is going to be moderate to high, consider replacing water with a sports drink to replace the sodium, chloride and potassium lost when you sweat.
Fruits and vegetables contain water, nutrients, fiber and potassium. They are smart dietary choices to supplement your water intake. Processed foods and baked goods have minimal water content.
We are creatures of habit. So why not incorporate water consumption with everyday activities. Drink water before and after every meal. Drink water before and after meetings. And definitely drink a glass of after going to the bathroom.
If your body requires 65+ ounces of water a day, monitor it. Keep a pen and paper handy and track how much you are drinking and how it makes you feel. Do this until you truly understand what it takes to reach your daily water intake and wellness goals.
Heat stroke is a serious and potentially deadly condition caused by our bodies overheating. This can happen as a result of too much exposure to high temperatures or to excess physical exertion that raises our body temperature to 104 F (40 C) or higher.
If you are experiencing signs of dehydration or heat stroke, stop what you are doing. Seek a cool location. Drink water. Rest. If your symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention immediately.
Even during the hottest months in southern Arizona, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun! Explore art galleries, visit a shaded farmer’s market, catch a movie, or enjoy wine tastings, concerts, cultural events and so much more.