With summer just around the corner and temperatures already reaching 90 degrees, it’s a good time to remember the importance of keeping yourself hydrated.
Dehydration is common during hotter weather. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that there are roughly more than 618 deaths in the United States a year due to extreme heat. Your body is able to cool itself by sweating during while in high temperatures, but when in extreme heat it is important to understand that your body may not be able to cool itself down as fast as it heats itself.
Hydration is the perfect way to avoid dehydration and beat the heat. Your body needs more water when you are in hot climates and more physically active. The amount of liquid you need to stay hydrated to avoid dehydration or even a heat stroke varies by the day due to age, your location, and activity for the day. You can check your level of hydration by observing the color of your urine when you use the restroom. If your urine is pale or clear you’re in a good zone or hydration, but if your urine is a dark yellow you need to increase your water intake. If you drink water throughout the day you will not need to constantly check to see if you’re hydrated.
Here are some ways to increase your fluid intake and stay hydrated:
- Have a glass of water before exercising or going outside
- Drink water before you eat to make sure you are hungry and not dehydrated and thirsty
- Drink a glass of water whenever you need to take a pill
- Add a slice of lemon or lime to add flavor to your water
- Drink from a reusable water bottle throughout the day
Older adults, young children, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at the highest risk for heat exhaustion. Heat related deaths are preventable and one of the main steps to prevent exhaustion is to stay hydrated during these next upcoming warm months.
Dr. Peter DeBlieux is the Chief Experience Officer. He is a professor of Clinical Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) and Director of Resident and Faculty Development for the LSUHSC Emergency Medicine department. Dr. DeBlieux previously served as Residency Program Director for LSUHSC. During Hurricane Katrina, he served as a physician at Charity Hospital in caring for patients, visitors and employees, helping direct emergency medical services during recovery efforts in New Orleans from a number of temporary care sites. Dr. DeBlieux received his medical degree at LSUHSC where he also completed internships in internal medicine and emergency medicine, and he completed a critical care fellowship at Charity Hospital. He serves as Executive Director of the Spirit of Charity Foundation.