by Hannah Kirby
Importance of Water
No matter your age, gender, or weight you are always at least 50% or more water. Water is inside and outside of all of your cells and organs and is imperative for your body to function properly. The water in the body has many important functions. For example, water helps flush waste products from the body through urine and feces, help regulate body temperature through sweating and respiration, and to protect sensitive organs like the womb, brain, and joint areas (1,2,3).
Signs of Dehydration
One of the most common ways used to indicate dehydration is through the urine. A colorless or pale yellow color is known to be associated with proper hydration while a deep yellow or light brown urine color is a sign that hydration is needed. While this method is well used for children and young adults, it may not be accurate for older adults. Other symptoms to look for include: dry skin, dry mouth, infrequent urination, headaches, dizziness, tiredness, and no tears when crying (2,4).
Certain groups of people can be more prone to dehydration. If you exercise regularly, especially in the heat, are pregnant or breastfeeding, are sick or have a medical condition like kidney stones or diabetes, or are an older adult it is very important you monitor your fluid intake (2,3,4).
Tips for Staying Hydrated
Here are some simple tips and trick
s to keeping yourself and loved ones healthy and hydrated in the Summer heat and all year round.
- Drink even when you aren’t thirsty. For most adults it is recommended to consume 8 glasses of water a day. If you wait until you’re thirsty to drink, you are already on the road to becoming dehydrated (4,5).
- Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in water. Be sure to add strawberries, oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe and other melons, lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, and skim milk to your diet regularly (1,5).
- Flavor the water, if needed. If you need flavor in your drinks add flavoring with fresh fruits or 100% fruit juice. It can also be helpful to consume clear broths (pay attention to sodium content), ice pops, and energy drinks (5).
- Stay inside and dress for the climate. On hot Summer days, plan to be in air-conditioning during the hottest portion of the day. Wait to do any necessary outside activities in the early morning or evening when it is cooler. Similarly, wearing loose light colored clothing will help maintain a sense of coolness in the blazing Summer air (5).
- Oral hydration solutions– if necessary. If you are extremely active or sick, oral hydrators may be key to your rehydration. These solutions, like Pedialyte, contain electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, sugar) that help replace the lost fluids and electrolytes (4).
The best advice, however, is to know the symptoms of dehydration. This will allow you to quickly assess your health status and begin to refuel your body with the fluids it needs.
- Roland J. Body water PERCENTAGE: Average, ideal, how to maintain and determine. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/body-water-percentage#maintenance. Published July 10, 2019. Accessed July 26, 2021.
- Staff FE. Hydration: Why it’s so important. familydoctor.org. https://familydoctor.org/hydration-why-its-so-important/. Published June 16, 2020. Accessed July 26, 2021.
- Adan A. Cognitive performance and dehydration. J Am Coll Nutr 2012; 31:71-8. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2012.
- Walle GVD. How to rehydrate: 5 helpful tips. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-rehydrate#Signs-and-symptoms-of-dehydrati on. Published December 19, 2019. Accessed July 26, 2021.
- San Diego Health. 6 simple ways to stay hydrated. Scripps Health. https://www.scripps.org/news_items/6630-6-simple-ways-to-stay-hydrated. Published October 7, 2019. Accessed July 26, 2021.