By Staff Writer - August 28, 2020
The summer heat is on. Many areas across the country are seeing record heat indexes, and with all that warmth comes the danger of dehydration. Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it is taking in. This could be because you are not drinking enough water or are losing excess amounts of fluids.
Without proper hydration, the body cannot function properly. This is why it is important to know the signs of dehydration.
- Dark colored urine
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Increased thirst
- Less frequent urination
- Weakness, dizziness, muscle cramps
While most of our hydration comes from water in some form, roughly 20% of our daily water intake comes from food. Bell peppers, broccoli, cantaloupe, cucumber, grapefruit, lettuce, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon are excellent sources of water-rich foods.
“Staying hydrated is important and can be easy,” says Moffitt registered dietician Erin Gurd. “Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. You can add fresh fruits, vegetables, or fresh herbs like mint, to give water some flavor.”
To prevent dehydration, ask your doctor how much fluid you should drink each day. Unless instructed otherwise by your health care provider, aim to consume eight to 12 cups of fluids daily if you experience any of the above symptoms. Consider trying sports beverages like Gatorade to replace lost minerals.
Other tips for preventing dehydration include:
- Keeping track of the fluids you drink. Count all liquids toward your daily fluid intake.
- Sucking on Popsicles® or Italian ice.
- Keeping crushed ice handy and consuming a few teaspoons every ten minutes if you cannot take a large volume of fluids at one time.
- Eating foods high in water content such as fruits and soups.
- Avoiding alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
Mild and moderate dehydration can usually be reversed by increasing your fluid intake. However, if you are unable to drink fluids and are showing symptoms of severe dehydration, such as uncontrolled diarrhea or vomiting, lack of urination or dizziness and confusion, you should contact health care provider immediately.