Could I be dehydrated?

July 12, 2022

Everything you need to know to stay hydrated in the sweltering summer heat

If you live in Texas, you’ve probably noticed that summer came screaming in hot and fast this year, with temperatures in May and June exceeding what we normally experience during the dog days of any Texas summer in August and September. In fact, May of 2022 earned the distinction of hottest May ever recorded in San Antonio.

Ouch.

Such extreme weather events warrant a refresher course on the importance of staying well hydrated as temperatures start to climb, and Texas MedClinic is here to help.

How much water should I be drinking?

According to the experts, it’s probably more than you think. “Everyone should set a goal to consume 68 ounces of water each day,” said Texas MedClinic’s Chief Operations Officer and practicing physician Dr. David Gude. “But it is important to remember that number goes up in order to maintain proper hydration if you spend time outdoors working or playing sports in high temperatures.”

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

Knowing the symptoms of dehydration can help you avoid a potentially life-threatening situation. Pay attention to symptoms related to dehydration, such as:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Less frequent urination or dark colored urine
  • Fatigue/weakness is muscles
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Inadequate hydration can negatively affect the circulatory system and internal organs, causing the body to function inefficiently.

How can I stay properly hydrated when it is SO HOT?

Staying hydrated during hot weather requires a little forethought and preparation. Try following these tips:

  • Make sure you are well hydrated before going out in hot weather. Drink plenty of water ahead of outdoor activities so you enter the heat properly prepared.
  • Drink water regularly while outdoors and before you feel thirsty. Thirst is one of the earliest signals that your body is becoming dehydrated.
  • Try to consume 8 ounces of water every 15 – 20 minutes while you are outdoors. Remember, drinking small amounts of water regularly is better than consuming large quantities at longer intervals.
  • You can check the color of your urine to find out if you are properly hydrated. If you are urinating regularly and producing urine that is pale yellow in color, you are likely well hydrated. Urine that is dark yellow indicates you need to drink more water.
  • Don’t overdrink water! Drinking more than 48 ounces of water in an hour can lower salt concentrations in the blood to dangerously low levels and cause a medical emergency.
  • Keep drinking water once you return indoors. This will help replace the fluids you lost while sweating.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle or cup with you when you are on the go. Stainless steel and glass options are eco-friendly, and insulated versions will keep your water cool and refreshing even on the hottest days.

I don’t like water. Can I hydrate with something else?

Despite what the sports beverage industry tells you, water is the best option for properly hydrating your body. Be sure to avoid energy drinks when you’re outdoors as many of them contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Drinking multiple energy drinks in a day can negatively affect your heart and increase the strain your body experiences when exposed to high temperatures.

Likewise, avoid alcoholic beverages, which can further contribute to dehydration and increase the likelihood of experiencing a heat-related illness.

Try flavoring your water by adding wedges of lemons or limes, mint, or cucumber slices to your cup.

Don’t forget about hydration through fruits and vegetables!

There’s a reason fruits and veggies are so plentiful during the summer months—while they are not a substitute for H2O, many are filled with water and can help keep you hydrated.

Watermelon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and strawberries all contain a minimum of 90% water content.

And don’t discount vegetables! Celery, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, and zucchini all contain 95% water or more.

With several months of high temperatures ahead of us, it is important to stay properly hydrated and alert to the symptoms of dehydration. If you or someone you know exhibits symptoms of dehydration, Texas MedClinic can help.

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