8 Tips for Staying Hydrated on Hot Days
Know how much fluid to drink, especially when working hard in the heat
Water makes up 60 percent of our bodies and 75 percent of our brains, according to WebMD. Staying hydrated is critical for every cell and system throughout the body.
UL’s sponsored LPGA golfers, who have been
competing during this summer’s record-breaking heat, understand how important
it is to hydrate properly, which is why you’ll often see them taking sips of
water throughout play.
all, even 2-percent dehydration can cause significant problems performing mental
tasks, reports a recent analysis of more than 30
previous studies. A statement by the study authors
notes that, “just two hours of vigorous yard work in the
summer sun without drinking fluids could be enough to blunt concentration.”
To keep yourself safe and hydrated even on hot days,
be sure to:
1. Know when to stay
When the heat index, which takes
into account humidity plus temperature, hits 91 degrees F (and can rise by 15
degrees higher than the official index in direct sunlight), try to avoid
outside exertion; that’s when the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration recommends employers implement precautions. This
threshold may be lower for people 65 or
older, or those who are overweight, have heart disease/high blood pressure, or
who take medications that affect heat tolerance, says the Centers of Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC).
2. Understand that dehydration
can happen fast.
Mindy Millard-Stafford, the study author and a professor in
Georgia Tech’s School of Biological Sciences, says, “If you weigh 200 pounds and you go work out for a few of
hours, you drop four pounds, and that’s 2 percent body mass. With an hour of
moderately intense activity, with a temperature in the mid-80s, and moderate
humidity, it’s not uncommon to lose a little over 2 pounds of water.”
3. Monitor your
WebMD recommends that
instead of following the eight 8-ounce glasses per day myth (which is not
backed in science), instead drink enough water that
you need to empty your bladder every two to four hours.
you’re already dehydrated if you experience dehydration signs, such as weakness,
leg cramps, fatigue, confusion, decreased skin elasticity (turgor), rough, dry
or coated tongue, fever, weight loss and, at times, restlessness and agitation.
At that point, focus on rehydrating.
4. Protect yourself. Although it’s
challenging to come up with fluid guidelines for everyone, since fluid needs vary based on health,
age, diet, activity level, weight, etc., the CDC recommends that for moderate
activity in moderate conditions, outdoors workers drink 1 cup of water every 15
to 20 minutes.
should drink before thirsty, advises WebMD, and, in general, drink 2 cups of fluid two hours before the activity, 4-6
ounces every 15-20 minutes during exercise and 16 ounces after – more if it’s
hot. Add an electrolyte tablet or use a sports drink if exercising for an hour
or more. Weighing yourself before and after exercise is more precise. Rehydrate
with 20 ounces of fluid per pound lost.
Elderly people often are more susceptible to heat and dehydration for many reasons, such as age-related reduced sense of thirst, as well as certain medicines, according to The Baltimore Sun. So even when it’s not hot, they should sip fluids throughout the day, and get hydration through foods like include soups, broths, and watery fruits.
5. Take regular
Exerting your body increases your body’s temperature. Once your body temp gets
too high, you start feeling the symptoms of a heat illness, which can quickly escalate
and become life-threatening. During extreme heat, the CDC recommends rescheduling
work to cooler times of the day, taking of frequent breaks in a shaded or air
conditioned area, wearing reflective clothing or water-dampened cotton
clothing, and donning cooling vests with pockets for cold packs.
6. Use sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher, and wear sunglasses,
a hat, and long-sleeve UV-rated clothing, while trying to avoid direct
7. Don’t drink too much water, which raises the risk of hyponatremia – low sodium blood concentration. Learn more here.
8. Recognize the
signs of heat illnesses. Know these signs, along with heat
illness first aid.
is important all times of the year, even in the middle of winter, but it’s easy
to quickly get dehydrated when spending time outside in the heat. All times of
the year, as noted above, make it a habit to drink enough water throughout the
day to have to use the bathroom every two to four hours. You’ll be more alert,
and your whole body will function better when you stay hydrated.