As summer approaches and the mercury starts to rise, people tend to become a lot more active and ambitious. This is part of what makes summer so great. But there are also a number of health concerns that become prominent around this time of year. Sometimes we are so excited to get out and make the most of summer months that we forget to look after ourselves and our families in certain respects.
So what are the major health concerns for summer? It goes without saying that people of all ages can sustain injuries from being more physically active, particularly when they are involved in competitive sports. Sunburn is another summer health concern. Insects and plants can irritate the skin. And not drinking a sufficient quantity of fluids can lead to dehydration, whether mild or severe.
The tricky thing about dehydration is that people sometimes don’t realize that they (or family member) are affected by it. Make no mistake – staying hydrated throughout the summer months, particularly on days when you are more active, will keep you feeling stronger and healthier. But how can you make sure you stay hydrated throughout the warms days and nights? Here are three easy ways to avoid dehydration this summer.
1. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty
Most medical authorities (including the Mayo clinic and many others) suggest around 2 liters of water per day. That’s 8 glasses of 8 ounces each. But how many of us really drink enough water? The best way to avoid dehydration is by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Your chances of getting dehydrated, even if you work or play hard, will be much lower.
2. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol
Caffeinated drinks (such as tea and coffee), as well as alcoholic beverages, can have a definite dehydrating effect on the body. For many adults, it may not seem realistic to avoid these beverages altogether — but it’s a good idea to avoid them for a few hours on either side of vigorous exercise or activity.
3. Avoid hard exercise in hot weather
When the weather is warm, we all want to take full advantage and be as active as we can. But when it gets downright hot, it’s better to avoid the most strenuous forms of exercise. If you do exercise when the temperature is high, make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your exercise.
What to do if you are dehydrated
Signs of dehydration include feeling tired, having no appetite, a flushed appearance in the face and neck, feeling dizzy or light-headed, dry coughing, or urine that is dark yellow or brown in color.
If you or someone you know has mild dehydration, begin rehydrating slowly and steadily with purified water. Drinks that contain electrolytes or carbohydrates can also be useful for mild dehydration, and over-the-counter rehydration solutions can also be effective. If you or someone you know is really not feeling well, and you think dehydration may be the cause, head for urgent care or your nearest medical option immediately and seek treatment.