Dehydration unfortunately can accompany the fun days of summer – especially in hot and muggy Florida. The reason? When you’re active in the heat, you sweat – which is your body’s attempt to cool itself. But you have to replace that fluid to keep your system healthy.
If you don’t, you can suffer the warning signs of dehydration – dizziness, headache, dry mouth, fatigue and little or no urine. And left untreated, dehydration can lead to serious complications, including kidney failure, seizures and even death.
Elderly people are especially susceptible to dehydration because as you age, your sense of thirst can disappear. Plus, many seniors take medications that can cause dehydration.
By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. So here are some ways to stay healthfully hydrated indoors and out:
- Count your glasses of water. The rule of thumb is six to eight 8 ounce glasses of water each day. This is a good place to start, but you may need more depending on your size or level of physical activity.
- Carry a refillable bottle with you as you exercise outside. You can also plan a running route that has water fountains along the way in case you need to refill.
- Like everything else, we all have different tastes in water. Like your water ice cold? Freeze a bottle and then take it out in the morning. As the ice melts, you’ll have refreshing cold water through much of the day.
- Find water boring? Try adding fruits and vegetables to make it flavored – but not filled with sugar and salt. Cucumbers, citrus, strawberries and kiwi make nice additions. Fresh mint and basil add flavor as well. Experiment until you find a flavor you love.
- Make it a habit to never pass a water fountain at work without taking a sip.
- Remember, not all fluids are created equal. Caffeine can dehydrate you so caffeinated sodas and coffee aren’t as good as water. Alcohol can also cause dehydration. So don’t fool yourself into thinking a beer is helping you on the hydration front.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus and in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Schedule an appointment online today.