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Drink Up! Avoid Dehydration

8/10/2012


As the summer heats up in South Louisiana, proper hydration while working and playing may be challenging, but it is a very important part of staying healthy. Our hot and humid weather may cause the body’s internal temperature to rise, which can result in heat exhaustion and heatstroke if not treated quickly. Your body may have problems performing normal functions when you don’t have enough fluids in your system. During these hottest months of the year, extreme temperatures and prolonged outdoor activity may increase sweating and make you lose fluids more rapidly than normal.

The best way to avoid dehydration is to drink plenty of water to replenish your body’s supply.
You may be tempted to turn to soft drinks, energy drinks or “vitamin-infused” waters. But these drinks usually contain large amounts of caffeine–sometimes as much as in 1 to 3 cups of coffee. Caffeine promotes fluid loss and increases urination, which can actually increase your rate of dehydration. These beverages also can contain large amounts of sugar, delivering excess and unwanted calories.

Other popular options are sports drinks, which contain electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, to replace what the body loses through sweat. They also contain carbohydrates as an immediate source of energy. These drinks can be a good option for people participating in endurance sports, but are not necessary for the casual athlete. Instead of looking at sports drinks, the best place to get your daily nutrients is from balanced meals.

How do I know if I am dehydrated?

Here are a few of the symptoms:

  • Dry mouth
  • Feelings of tiredness, dizziness and/or lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dark coloration of urine
  • Loss of appetite.

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