How To Keep Yourself Sufficiently Hydrated During The Summer Hundreds of people lose their lives to heat stroke every year in India. Millions of others suffer from minor to major heat related illnesses. However, the worst part is knowing that almost all kinds of heat related illnesses are preventable and easily combated. Simply keeping a track of how much water you are losing and making up for in the course of a hot day can save you from dehydration, which is the main cause of almost all heat related illnesses.
What Is Dehydration? Dehydration is a state where the body loses more fluids than it can replace during a certain period of time. Since the human body is two-thirds water, this loss of fluids is easily apparent in the symptoms of dehydration, which may be one or more of the following.
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle pain or cramps
- Sunken eyes
- Dryness of tongue, mouth and lips
- Bright coloured or dark urine/less than normal quantity of urine
It is important to work towards getting rehydrated as soon as any of these symptoms are noticed in order to avoid the complications of dehydration, which might be as severe as shock, organ failure, coma or even death. People with severe dehydration may have negligible or nil urine production, low blood pressure, an increased heart rate and should be immediately taken to the nearest emergency room.
Keeping Yourself Hydrated The best way of avoiding dehydration and its effects is to keep yourself sufficiently hydrated at all times and this can be easily achieved by following the tips given below: Drink Enough Water: An average adult needs at least two to three litres of water every 24 hours, and this should be increased based upon the amount and kind of physical activity one indulges in as well as time spent in the sun or in hot surroundings. In case you are going for a workout or spending time in the sun, then as per the American Medical Athletic Association, you need to drink at least 600 ml of water before your workout and 750 ml in the couple of hours following outdoor activity. This is in addition to 300 ml of water consumed after every 20 minutes of outdoor activity.
Even if you are unable to consume so much water because you are not used to it, these figures should give you a fair idea of how much fluid the body loses when you workout or spend time in the hot summer sun. In such a scenario, drinking enough water is often easier said than done, and hydration needs to be paid special attention to at all times.
Drink The Right Kind Of Fluids: Reaching out for a can of soda or a chilled beer is what you might feel like doing when the summer sun parches you. But hold that thought right there! When it comes to hydration, not every drink is created equal; and alcohol, carbonated and caffeinated drinks end up dehydrating you instead of providing the body with hydration. Apart from water, drinks that will help hydrate you better are electrolyte and mineral rich drinks like sports beverages, ORS, nimbu pani, aam panna, chaas and jal zeera.
Eat To Hydrate: Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich sources of water as well as the minerals that will help your body maintain its electrolyte balance. Eating five to six portions of fresh fruits and vegetables in the form of salads or whole fruits like melons, watermelons, mangoes, jackfruit, berries and other summer fruits will help you stay healthy and hydrated. On the other hand, eggs, red meat, deep fried food and oil-rich gravies will all make you feel dry and dehydrated.
Stay Cool: Contain fluid loss through sweat by staying out of the sun as much as possible, resting in the shade whenever you can, wearing loose and light clothing and by exercising during the early morning or evening. Like in all things healthy, remember that prevention is better than dehydration! So chill, and we mean it literally!