Proper Hydration for Good Health: The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Summertime is best for being outdoors, enjoying the beach, ball games, parks, and other forms of outdoor activity. Proper hydration is important before starting to enjoy the summer.

Drinking enough water is important for all of us, but even more so in warm and humid weather because we can easily lose fluids through sweat. The issue with dehydration becomes a problem for our bodies because the body is made up of around 60% water. When body fluids fall, our body suffers.

Even though there are many drinks and food options for proper hydration, they do not provide the same value as water. Water is the best fluid for hydration because it keeps you cool and hydrated.

Why We Should Stay Hydrated During Summer

To Cool Our Body

Our biological design regulates our body temperatures, particularly during summer, through sweat. The function of sweat is to allow more water to leave the body through the skin, cooling the body and helping to maintain a stable temperature. If we sweat a lot, more water must be replaced by drinking more fluids more frequently to replace that loss through sweat.

For Proper Functioning of the Body System

Many essential processes in the body depend on the presence of water. Water helps the blood carry essential substances to cells and kidneys to eliminate unwanted waste products. It also lubricates our joints and eyes; it helps our digestive system work and keeps our skin healthy.

Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

When you sweat excessively, your body loses huge amounts of salt and water, causing heat exhaustion. On the other hand, heat stroke occurs when your body cannot control its internal temperature. Heat exhaustion can result in heatstroke if left untreated.

Risk Factors for Heat Stroke

Those at high risk for heat stroke are likely to be elderly who reside in apartments or homes without air conditioning or sufficient airflow. Additional high-risk groups are those who do not drink enough water, those with chronic illnesses, or those who drink alcohol excessively.

Heat stroke is closely related to the heat index, which measures how hot you feel when adding humidity and air temperature effects together. Humidity affects sweat evaporation, slowing your body’s ability to cool down.

When the heat index gets to 90 degrees or higher, the risk of heat-related illness skyrockets; it’s crucial during heat waves to pay attention to the reported heat index and remember that exposure to full sunlight can increase the reported heat index by as much as 15 degrees.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion can be caused by exposure to high temperatures, especially if combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. The signs of heat exhaustion include;

Warning Signs for Heat Stroke

Untreated heatstroke will damage your brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles, and if treatment is delayed, the damage worsens and can lead to serious complications or death. The signs of heat stroke include;

  • High body temperatures above 103⁰ F
  • Cramps in the arms, legs, and stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Hot, dry, and red skin
  • The strong, rapidly beating pulse

Seek Emergency Medical Care

Heatstroke can be life-threatening; if you suspect one, call 911 or your local emergency number as soon as possible. Cool the person using whatever means are available. For example:

  • Put the person in a cool tub of water or take a cool shower
  • Use a garden hose to spray the person
  • Rinse the person with cool water
  • Mist the person with cool water while fanning them
  • Apply cool, wet towels or ice packs to the neck, armpits, and groin
  • Use cool, damp sheets to cover the person

Do not give the victim any fluids or drinks before medical personnel arrives.

Bottom Line

Summertime is supposed to be all about fun in the sun. But if you’re not careful, the heat can lead to serious health problems. One of the most dangerous is heat stroke, which can occur when your body temperature rises to 104 degrees or higher. If you experience any of the symptoms, it’s important to immediately get out of the heat and into a cool environment. And make sure to observe the above tips for proper hydration.

For more tips on proper hydration and avoiding heat-related illnesses, contact us at Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehab today!