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4 Ways to Stay Hydrated During the Dog Days of Summer

We all know that the Texas summer heat can be harsh when any small breeze is appreciated. During any extreme temperature, your body works hard to regulate and stabilize body temperature. Oftentimes, what we eat and drink dictates how well the body can regulate itself. While no one should be outside during a heatwave, there are ways to avoid severe dehydration once the hottest days of summer strike. The number one rule is to drink plenty of water!

 To know if you’re dehydrated, look out for the following signs: brain fog, muscle cramps, fatigue, dry mouth, constipation, dark urination, and even a loss of appetite. Dehydration can start off mild and become severe if outside without hours of drinking water. Severe dehydration can lead to unconsciousness, which will require immediate action of drinking electrolytes before worsening to a heat stroke.

 To stay cool this summer:

 1.)  Avoid caffeine, alcoholic consumption, or sweet drinks

 Limiting your caffeine intake doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it in the mornings! Before you go drinking coffee after waking up, start with room temperature water to hydrate the body first and digestive tract. Although caffeine boosts mental stimulation, it also dehydrates the body. Remember that your kidneys and liver need water to filter out toxins, so water intake should be more than caffeine. Besides stressing the body’s regulatory functions when it’s hot out, you also increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Those are painful!

 At the same time, both alcohol consumption and high-sugar drinks cause dehydration because they force the body to withdraw stored water in order to filter out the excess sugar. So if you reach for a soda or that margarita, be sure to always have a water bottle or coconut water next to you.

 2.) Eat foods with high water content.

 The heat will make you crave high-water-containing foods. Your best friends will be watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, grapefruit, tomatoes, peppers, and celery to name a few. These are excellent snacks to take with you on the way to work. Another added benefit is that these fruits, especially watermelon, strawberries or grapefruit, will help quench those sugar cravings! These are superpower fruits that will help get you through the day.

 3.) Replenish with electrolytes after sweating.

 On any hot day, your body will naturally keep you cool by sweating. As you sweat, water intake increases. Besides water, the body also needs electrolytes. If you are tired from drinking plain water, mix it up! You can also infuse water jugs with cucumbers, strawberries, lemons, celery, or watermelon to boost that flavor throughout the day. If you’re looking to opt for other options rather than Gatorade, coconut water is a fantastic combination of electrolytes. Grocery stores now carry a balanced pickle juice drink if you like more of that vinegar flavor. So how much should you drink before or after exercising?

 The American Council on Exercise recommends following these guidelines before, during, and after a workout:

  • Drink 17-20 oz. two to three hours before you exercise.

  • Drink 8 oz. 20-30 minutes before you exercise.

  • Drink 7-10 oz. every 10-20 minutes during exercise.

  • Drink 8 oz. no more than 30 minutes after exercise.

 4.) Know when to stay inside.

 There are peak hours when the sun is at its hottest and most dangerous that can cause dehydration or lead to skin cancer. Plan your outdoor activities or exercise before or after these hours to avoid detrimental effects. The sun is at its hottest from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm, so the best times for outdoor activities are early morning or late evening.

 If you need to be outside during these peak times, wear protective clothing such as long-sleeve shirts, hats, and sunblock. Always take a water bottle with you, and be sure to hydrate before going out.

 If you or a loved one has severe dehydration, you should seek immediate help. Quality Urgent Care has several locations (Pleasanton, Schertz, 1604 N Potranco, 281 N Redland Road, I-35 South Palo Alto Road)  that will provide the best care for you and your family. Be sure to know where you are located to find the nearest Quality Urgent Care.

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