Healthy You - Every Day

Beat the Heat This Summer and Stay Hydrated

If you’re spending time outside, it’s important to know the signs of dehydration and how to prevent it.

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Proper Hydration

During the summer, it’s easy to become dehydrated if you are spending time outdoors. But many people don’t realize that being dehydrated while outdoors in the heat can lead to more serious medical conditions.

“Heat-related illnesses range from mild to severe. With mild cases, people may experience dizziness, feeling thirsty or headaches, but in more severe cases they may develop heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke,” says Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Pocono primary care physician Mohammad Ali, MD.

Signs of dehydration

How do you know if you are dehydrated? Depending on the severity, Ali says dehydration can cause dry mouth, lips and eyes, dizziness, headache, fatigue, and decreased urine volume and frequency. If you experience those symptoms, you should stop any activity and hydrate yourself.

“There are countless benefits to drinking enough water. Water helps the lubrication and cushioning of our joints, prevents kidney damage and urinary tract infections, and maintains healthy skin and teeth." - Mohammad Ali, MD, LVH–Pocono primary care physician

How to stay hydrated

Here are some tips on how to keep you and your family hydrated this summer:

  • Stick to water – According to Ali, in many cases just drinking water is good enough. Sports drinks may be appropriate for high-level athletes who engage in vigorous activity.
  • Try to drink every 20 minutes – There’s no set amount of water you should drink daily; however, Ali suggests if you are engaging in moderate activity, you should try to drink 1 cup every 20 minutes.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine– Alcohol and caffeine can actually leave you dehydrated.
  • Try water-rich foods – If you find it difficult to drink enough, try to eat water-rich foods like watermelon and cucumber.

How hydration helps

According to Ali, there are numerous health benefits to staying hydrated. “There are countless benefits to drinking enough water. Water helps the lubrication and cushioning of our joints, prevents kidney damage and urinary tract infections, and maintains healthy skin and teeth,” he says.

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