It wouldn’t be summer without warm days and outdoor activities. Make sure dehydration doesn’t ruin your fun! Part of being sun safe means knowing how to prevent and treat heat-related illnesses. Follow these four simple tips to stay hydrated and happy all season long.
Drink smart. Stop dehydration in its tracks by keeping fluids on hand. Water is best, but 100% juice and unsweetened tea are also good picks. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, there are lots of ways to jazz it up! Citrus fruits (like lemons, limes and oranges), frozen berries, or a few mint leaves all make water a treat. Keep in mind that caffeinated drinks and alcohol are dehydrating, so keep sodas and cocktails to a minimum, and have a glass of water for any caffeinated or alcoholic beverage that you drink.
Be careful not to overdo it, though – overhydration is possible, and can be just as dangerous.
Take breaks. Sweating can make you dehydrated too. Remember to limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is hottest and brightest. If you’re going to be active for hours and sweating a lot, you might want to have a sports drink like Gatorade on hand. They contain electrolytes that replenish the sodium and potassium you lose when you sweat.
Know the signs. Not everyone will experience dehydration in the same way, but if you or someone you’re with experiences any of these symptoms, it’s time for rest and fluids.
- Muscle cramping
Two of the most common signs of dehydration are dark urine and decreased urination. If you haven’t been to the bathroom in a while, or if what you’re seeing in there is darker than usual, you are probably in the first stages of dehydration.
Get more help. Although mild dehydration and other heat-related illnesses can be treated at home, they can also become very serious. The following are common signs of moderate to severe dehydration:
- Lack of sweating
- Dry skin
- Increased heart rate
Heat-related illnesses may become life-threatening if they are left untreated. If you or someone you’re with begins exhibiting any of those symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.