woman drinking water

It is 80 degrees outside and you’re enjoying the sun in the afternoon sky. But if you’re not also enjoying many glasses of water over the course of the day, you could be dehydrating yourself.

Summer beach go-ers and even those on a stay-cation need to be careful when basking under the sun. Dehydration is much more common than one might think, as are the signs of dehydration: fatigue, flushed skin, light-headedness, extreme thirst, heat intolerance, dry cough, loss of appetite, and dark colored urine.

The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink before you’re thirsty. Whether you’re at a music festival or on your own lawn, water is the best way to stay hydrated if you’re planning low or moderate intensity activities for about an hour.

If you’re out in the sun for more than an hour or participating in a high-intensity activity like running or hiking, you might want to hydrate with a sports drink. These hydrate and also replace sodium and potassium, chemicals that are often lost though perspiration. Also consider a sports drink if you are experiencing muscle cramping, which is often due to an electrolyte deficiency.

When out in the sun, try to avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. Also, skip the fruit juices and drinks too because they often are very high in sugar and too low in sodium to replace what’s lost in perspiration. Always make sure to hydrate before, during, and after exercise.

If you’re tired of plain old water, try fruit-infused drinks that you can make at home. Just cut up your favorite fruits, vegetables, and herbs and place them in a glass jar filled with water. Let it sit for as long as you’d like to intensify the flavor. This drink will no doubt keep your mind, body, and taste buds happy through the summer.

We recommend these combinations if you’re looking to try something new:

  • Strawberry, lemon and basil
  • Watermelon and mint
  • Blueberry and lavender

Also, don’t forget to wear sunscreen and seek shade! While this won’t keep you hydrated, it will help you avoid another summer danger: skin cancer.

June 25, 2015 | by The Polyclinic