The risk of dehydrated increases exponentially when temperatures increase throughout the summer months. This is because warmer conditions cause people to have a higher sweat output. In hot temperatures with high humidity, sweat cannot evaporate to cool our bodies down. These weather conditions can leave the body in desperate need of fluids.
Because children have smaller body masses, they produce more heat and also sweat less than their adult counterparts. They may suffer from dehydration more easily than fully-grown adults do. Children that spend most of their time playing outside in the summer may have little or no time to replenish their bodies with water, even as they sweat.
When the body loses large amounts of fluids, dehydration occurs. The loss of water is accompanied by loss of minerals and salts. Dehydration is often associated with more serious conditions, and is not something that should be taken lightly. The following tips will prevent dehydration during summer:
- Drink Plenty of Water
It is a proven fact that people sweat more during the summer than in other times of year. To keep dehydration at bay, drinking lots of water is the most important thing a person can do. Most health practitioners, dietitians, and nutritionists recommend drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water per day. While this is a good measure, not everyone requires the same amount of fluids. The amount of fluids that is necessary in the body depends on various factors. Some examples are physical activity, weight, height, and the region in which someone lives.
- Avoid Diuretics
Foods and substances that enhance urine production are known as diuretics. These substances should be avoided during summer because they can cause increased loss of body fluids. Examples of substances to avoid are cola, coffee, and chocolate.
- Avoid Spicy Foods
Spicy foods are known to increase acidity, heart burn, and other health conditions. Most importantly in this case, spicy foods cause an increase in internal body temperature, and subsequently, a loss of body fluids. This is a debated issue in the health community, however. Some professionals state that people experience a cooling sensation after consuming these foods, since they bridge the gap between external and internal temperature.
- Eat Potassium-Rich Foods
Besides a mere loss of water, dehydration also constitutes a loss of essential electrolytes. Someone who is dehydrated must therefore replenish these through their diet. Examples of foods rich in potassium (one of the most important nutrients) are sweet potatoes, pineapples, bananas, mangos and coconuts.
- Avoid Excess Exertion
Physical exercise is undoubtedly good for fitness. However, exerting yourself too much is especially dangerous during summer. If you must exercise in extreme heat, ensure you take several breaks to drink water.
- Stay Indoors
This is perhaps the best approach as far as dehydration prevention is concerned. You are likely to sweat more if you are directly exposed to the sun. Sweating releases vital body fluids, minerals, and salts, that can lead to dehydration. Avoid working or exercising outdoors in the summertime, whenever possible, or limit yourself to cooler times of the day.
- Wear Loose-Fitting or Light-Colored Clothing
Light clothes absorb less heat from the sun than darker ones. Also, loose-fitting clothes encourage external cool-down and regulation of internal temperature. Cotton is a beneficial, breathable material to wear in the summer months.
- Do Yoga
Yoga can be an incredibly calming form of exercise that often allows people to sweat less.
- Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes
Because alcohol is a diuretic, it dehydrates body cells and the liver. Cigarettes cause the dehydration of throat cells.