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
- Muscle weakness
- Dark coloration of urine
- Loss of appetite.