Tennova Healthcare Shares Cool Tips for Staying Hydrated in the Summer Heat

Dr. Allan Moser

Dr. Allan Moser

The “dog days of summer” have arrived in East Tennessee. With the high temperatures and humidity comes the chance that you could easily get dehydrated if you aren’t drinking enough water. But how do you know if you’re dehydrated and what can you do about it? Tennova Healthcare has the answers.

“Water does more than ward off thirst,” said Allan Moser, D.O., a family medicine physician at Tennova Primary Care – Lakeway West in Morristown. “It gives you energy, regulates your body temperature and keeps your organs functioning. So it’s very important to make sure you’re drinking enough every day.”

Most people can avoid dehydration by drinking when they are thirsty, according to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that recommends women get 91 ounces of fluid per day and men get 125 ounces per day. Of course, if you are working or exercising outside in the heat, you will likely need to drink more fluids, the IOM advises. You are also at greater risk for dehydration if you are older, take medications that increase urine output or have a chronic illness, such as diabetes.

“Your urine color is a good indicator to know if you’re drinking enough water,” Dr. Moser said. “According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), if urine is colorless to light yellow, you’re drinking enough. If it’s dark yellow or amber, you need more water.”

Other signs of dehydration include:

· Confusion

· Dizziness

· Dry mouth

· Extreme thirst

· Fatigue

· Headache

According to Dr. Moser, you can avoid dehydration during a heatwave by filling up on fluids. Drinking water is the cheapest, healthiest way to stay hydrated. Here are a few other alternatives:

Eat a salad. The IOM report notes that water from both beverages and food counts toward your daily fluid intake. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery and other common salad vegetables can contain as much as 95 percent water, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you are craving something sweeter, watermelons and berries contain high amounts of water as well.

Mix juice with seltzer. An easy way to get a little flavor without too many extra calories is to mix 100 percent juice with seltzer water. You can do the same thing with wine to make a low calorie spritzer to serve at barbecues or picnics.

Have an iced coffee. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine isn’t dehydrating—provided you stick to no more than four 8-ounce cups of coffee a day, according to the AAFP. An iced coffee or latte with low fat milk can give you an energy boost without the sugar content of frozen coffee drinks or sodas.

“It’s especially important to stay hydrated when working or exercising outdoors,” Dr. Moser said. “You can lose as much as a quart of water during an hour of exercise.”

If you want to maintain a fitness routine or tackle an intense outdoor project in the heat, keep this advice from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in mind:

· Before: Two hours before your activity, drink 17–20 ounces of water.

· During: Drink 7–10 ounces of fluid every 10–20 minutes.

· After: Drink 16–24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost.

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