Stay hydrated all year long

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Summer. It’s the time of year when we venture outdoors, enjoying all the activities that we miss during those long winter months. As the temperature rises, and we revel in the sunshine, it is important to stay hydrated.  

Our bodies are made up of about 60% water. The water or fluids in our bodies regulates our body temperature, protects our organs and tissues, and keeps our mouth, eyes and nose moist. These fluids also support our bodily functions by excreting wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.  

Dehydration is condition caused by the loss of too much fluid from the body. It happens when you are losing more fluids than you are taking in, and your body does not have enough fluids to work properly. You can become dehydrated from diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or simply by not drinking enough fluids.

People with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or kidney problems or those who take medications that cause them to urinate or sweat more often, are at higher risk for dehydration. Age also plays a factor in risk, as dehydration is seen more often in infants and young children and older adults. People who exercise or work outdoors during hot weather are also at increased risk for dehydration.

Symptoms of mild dehydration include increased thirst, dry mouth, urinating and sweating less than usual, darker colored urine, dry skin, feeling tired, headache, and dizziness. The treatment for dehydration is to replace the fluids and electrolytes that you have lost. For mild dehydration, drinking fluids may help.  

Severe dehydration can be life-threatening. Get medical help right away and call 911 if the symptoms include fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, confusion, fainting, lack of urination, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, or chest or abdominal pain.

Drinking enough water every day is essential for overall health. Daily fluid intake, which includes water consumed by foods, drinking water and other beverages, recommendations vary by age, sex, and medical conditions. Ask your doctor what amount is right for you and make a plan to stay hydrated not only during our summer months, but all year long.