Not only heat is responsible for one of the most common and deadly conditions: dehydration.
Although it is more common when temperatures are high, water loss can occur from other causes. So that you can prevent and help others with this problem, here we explain everything you need to know.
Unlike other animals, our body cannot store water, so to function properly it needs to maintain what is known as water balance.
This means compensating or replenishing the loss of water that we experience on a daily basis through sweat, urine, feces, and even when we exhale. If we don’t, we run the risk of becoming dehydrated.
While anyone can get dehydrated, children and older adults are most at risk. There are also conditions or situations that can favor its appearance:
- Have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Excessive urination, usually caused by urinary tract infections, uncontrolled diseases (such as diabetes), or medications (such as diuretics).
- Suffer excessive sweating, either as a result of exercising or due to weather conditions (usually during the summer).
The most common symptoms of dehydration are:
- Sticky or dry mouth.
- Scanty or dark yellow urine.
- Cold and dry skin.
More severe dehydration can lead to rapid breathing and heartbeat, dizziness, irritation, and delirium or shock.
Knowing these signs can help you anticipate dehydration and seek help sooner. To prevent it and avoid any type of problem, you can follow these tips:
make the water tastier
After oxygen, water is the most essential substance for sustaining life. In fact, the human composition is based on two thirds of it.
It is important for carrying out essential tasks, such as respiration, digestion, nutrient absorption, blood circulation, and excretion.
The amount of water we need per day depends on our size, activity level, weather, and even the medications we are taking. However, professionals estimate that we should drink between 2.5 and 3 liters per day.
In many cases we may be tempted to replace it with soft drinks, more so during hot weather. Although these can hydrate us, they are loaded with sugars, flavorings and other ingredients that can harm our health.
Therefore, being creative is a good way to prevent dehydration while taking care of your health. You can easily make water more attractive to compete against these sweetened alternatives.
For example, add juice or pieces of strawberries, melons, cucumbers, mint, or your favorite fruit to a pitcher of water. Remember that it is not necessary for the liquid to be frozen to fulfill its moisturizing function.
eat fruit and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are essential for a balanced and healthy diet. This is because they provide important nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals.
But its benefits do not end there, these foods are also ideal for hydration.
For best results, you can opt for those that have a significant composition of water, such as watermelons, strawberries, lettuce, celery, spinach, tomatoes, pineapples or cucumbers, among others.
These drinks are an excellent option to face hot days. While store-bought smoothies can have high amounts of added sugar, just like sodas or sports drinks, making them at home can help you get around this.
Again, creativity will be your greatest ally, you can put in the blender:
- ¼ cup of oatmeal.
- 1 ½ cup of red fruits.
- ½ of Greek yogurt.
- ¼ orange juice.
- 1 teaspoon of its shell.
- Ginger or chia seeds to taste.
It only remains to blend it until everything is well mixed and enjoy.
refresh the body
Age can make us more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, reports the National Institute on Aging (NIA). This can include sunstroke or heat stroke, which occurs when the body temperature exceeds 40°C and sweating is not enough to cool it down.
To prevent overheating of the body, specialists advise drinking fluids regularly, using the air conditioning when possible, bathing in the pool or taking cool showers.
wear cool clothes
Light, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing (which absorbs less heat) will help you feel more comfortable on hot days. Make sure air can circulate freely between your clothes and your body.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding cooking on the stove or going outside for long periods of time in broad daylight or working outside. If you have no other choice, wear sunscreen and take frequent breaks in the shade.
Also, if you want to exercise you should do it early or at night. Remember: never underestimate the symptoms, if you have any fear or suspicion of sunstroke consult a health professional.
Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mayo Clinic, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute on Aging.