Ask the Nurse: Stay Hydrated - Stay Healthy

As summer rolls on, so too are warmer days. Heat-related  illnesses, particularly dehydration, can affect anyone─ no  matter age or medical history.

Dehydration is more prevalent in warm weather, due to the loss of water and salt from the body. Dehydration occurs when a person’s body temperature rises and the body tries to cool itself down by sweating.

hydration water glass

Why do we need to drink water?

Our bodies comprise of 70 to 75 per cent of water, which is responsible for maintaining blood circulation as well as supplying our bodies with essential nutrients and removing waste.

Drinking water also maintains blood volume and ensures our blood pressure is maintained.

How do I know if I'm dehydrated?

The most common symptoms of dehydration are a dry mouth and feeling thirsty. Other symptoms include:

- headache
- dry skin
- passing less urine than normal 
- tiredness
- dizziness
- cramping in the arms and legs
- If these symptoms worsen or last for more than an hour, immediate medical attention is highly advised. 

Helpful hints to stay hydrated

Ensure your staying hydrated during the warmer months by following these tips:

- Pay attention to the colour of your urine as this is a good way to monitor fluid loss. Your urine should be pale yellow and not dark yellow, too smelly or cloudy

- Consuming fruits and vegetables (at least five cups) counts towards your fluid levels, as they contain water and potassium.

- Fluids found in foods (icy poles, custard, jelly, ice cream, yoghurt, fruit and soup) as well as fruit juice, milk, tea, coffee and cordial all contribute to the daily intake.

- Tea and coffee, while being a good source of fluid, should not be the only fluid a person drinks because they contain caffeine

- Avoid fizzy drinks or caffeine-based drinks, which can trigger urge incontinence in some people with bladder dysfunction.

 - Sip on water before, during and after exercise for low to moderate activity (less than 60 minutes)

- Do exercise or outdoor activities in the early morning or evening to avoid excessive exposure to the midday sun

- Wear unscreen and a hat to protect your head, neck, ears and face to avoid getting sunburn which stops your body from cooling itself down properly

- Wear thin, losse clothing to help sweat evaporate. Avoid wearing dark clothes which absorb more heat than light clothing. 

Note: Your healthcare professional is your first point of contact. Always follow your doctor’s instructions.