Editorial: Stay hydrated


It’s that time of year when hot temperatures outside can lead to countless numbers of people suffering from dehydration.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter learned that the hard way after being hospitalized for dehydration after doing outdoor work.

This is a health risk that can occur year-round, but summer’s high temperatures are when it is particularly noticeable.

Dehydration is the result of more water leaving the body than is being ingested. It can cause the body to shut down and in severe cases can be fatal.

A person suffering from dehydration can experience extreme dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, confusion, the feeling of weakness and or fainting.

According to health reports, the majority of Americans are aware of the importance of drinking enough water but 75% fall short of the recommended 10 glasses a day.

Infants and the elderly are especially vulnerable to becoming dehydrated. Children are susceptible because of their small body weight and high turnover of electrolytes.

The elderly are vulnerable because their bodies don’t conserve water the same as when they were younger. They are also less able to respond or adjust to changes in temperature.

Sometimes children and the elderly need extra guidance and encouragement to drink up. So, it’s good to offer them refreshing beverages throughout the day. If they don’t like plain water, add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice or a splash of cranberry juice to give it some flavor.

The formula for calculating your daily fluid intake depends on your body weight. An average American man who weighs 195 pounds is recommended to have at least 70 ounces of water daily. The average American woman who weighs 165 pounds is recommended to have at least 65 ounces of water daily.

To keep track if you are getting enough water, you can monitor the color of your urine. Any light shade of yellow means you are healthy and hydrated. Darker yellow means your body is in need of more water and you may begin to experience side effects of dehydration.

Keeping hydrated is especially important for anyone working outside, or lounging at the beach. Drink water before, during, and after you’re finished to compensate for any fluids lost to sweat.

And don’t forget your pets. Make sure they get plenty of fresh water, as much as they want. And don’t leave them alone in a hot car — ever. They will overheat and dehydrate very quickly.

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