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Warm weather brings with it thoughts of cool ocean breezes, napping in a hammock, and sipping a tall glass of lemonade. Now keep the mental image of that lemonade because summer is also a time to be wary of dehydration.
Water is important to the body at all times, but especially in warm weather. It keeps the body from overheating. When you work or exercise your muscles generate heat. To keep from burning up your body needs to get rid of that heat. The main way the body discards heat in warm weather is through sweat. Lots of sweating reduces the body’s water level, and this loss of fluid affects normal bodily functions.
SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION
Fatigue, loss of appetite, flushed skin, heat intolerance, light-headedness, dark- colored urine, and dry cough.
HOW TO AVOID DEHYDRATION
Drink plenty of water, and if a known activity is scheduled drink fluids before. The best way to beat dehydration is to drink before you get thirsty. One way to make sure you are properly hydrated is to check your urine (wee). If it is clear, pale or straw colored, it’s OK. If it is darker than that keep drinking fluids. For longer periods of heat exposure you may want to hydrate with some kind of sports drink. These sport drinks replace not only fluid, but also sodium and potassium, which are lost through perspiration. Muscle cramping may be due to a deficiency of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, teas, and colas, are not recommended for optimal hydration. These fluids tend to pull water from the body and promote dehydration. Avoiding peak hours of sun when temperatures and UV rays are at their highest between 10a.m. and 2p.m. if possible. Adequate hydration will keep your summer activities safer and much more enjoyable.