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Stay hydrated to help you beat the Louisiana summer heat

Stay hydrated to help you beat the Louisiana summer heat

Whew, the summer heat in New Orleans is no joke! As our temperatures hover in the upper 90s, it’s important to stay hydrated to keep your cool, especially when spending time outdoors. Keep reading as our University Medical Center New Orleans team shares some insight on how to stay healthy.

Hot weather and your body

Proper hydration is important at all times of year since every part of the body depends on water to survive. Because you sweat out water and water leaves the body in urine, the supply of water in the body constantly needs to be replenished.

Staying hydrated is especially important for staying safe during the summer. During hot weather, it becomes more difficult to keep the body cool. That’s because the body’s normal cooling mechanism is disrupted when it’s hot and humid. The body typically regulates its temperature by sweating, but when it’s intensely hot, sweat evaporates quickly, so it doesn’t stay on the skin to help cool the body down. This puts you at a higher risk of heat-related illness like heat stroke.

Drinking water throughout the day can help keep your body temperature level, even as the temperature outside rises. It’s important to drink water continuously throughout the day rather than simply drinking when you feel thirsty. By the time you experience thirst, you may already be slightly dehydrated.

Signs of dehydration include intense thirst, a dry mouth, dark-colored urine, dry skin, fatigue, dizziness and a decreased need to urinate. If you experience these symptoms, it’s especially important to drink up to replenish your body’s water supply.

Your summer hydration guide

Staying hydrated is a bit more involved than just drinking lots of water, especially when you consider that different people have different needs for daily fluid intake.

People need different amounts of water depending on a number of factors, including weight, body mass, age and activity levels. Instead of aiming for an arbitrary number on a water bottle, listen to your body and watch for clues about how hydrated you are.

There’s a good rule of thumb for whether you’re hydrated that’s based on the color of your urine. If you’re hydrated, your urine should be pale yellow or clear. When you’re dehydrated, on the other hand, urine will be darker yellow or even orange.

Want to give your water intake a boost but don’t love water? Try these tips:

Jazz up your water. When plain water gets boring, sparkling water can be a refreshing alternative. Mix in fruit or mint for a dose of flavor. You can also find packets or drops that add flavor without adding calories or sugar.

When it’s extra hot, try a sports drink. If you’re exercising or working outside and sweating profusely, you might benefit from a sports drink or coconut water to replenish your fluids and your electrolytes.

Eat your water. Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content, so you can eat your way to hydration. Hydrating foods include melon, berries, lettuce, peaches, bell peppers and celery.

No matter how you choose to get your water, stay hydrated to keep your cool!

Feeling under the weather in the summer heat? Schedule an appointment with a primary care provider to get back to your best.