Contributed by- Dr Snehal Singh
Dehydration is an insidious condition, in adults especially; dehydration does not show any clear symptoms early. However, dehydration can be dangerous, if not handled early. Dehydration is fairly common in summers in India where the heat is particularly severe; you don’t really need to engage in heavy labor to get dehydrated. A stroll outside in the peak of summer will make you lose a lot of fluid.
Since summers last a long time in India, it is essential to take care of your body’s fluid levels and be proactive in your approach towards your health . Staying hydrated in the summer is one of the key ways to good health.
How to stay healthy in the summer season?
To maintain good health throughout the summer months, it is essential to intake enough water and healthy summer foods. Seasonal produce usually incorporates the essential elements for good health in that season and including them in your daily diet can have a significant impact on your health. During summer, due to the heat and sweating, any slightest physical exertion can cause plenty of water loss.
Severe water loss or dehydration can cause health issues like headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness and even heat stroke. Hence, to make up for the loss it is essential to keep taking fluids.
Let us look at some of the effective hydration health tips for summer heat. With the help of these tips you can counter the water loss in summer.
- Drink more water – Drinking water at frequent intervals is something that we usually forget. This is especially true for adults, we become involved in our daily work and forget to drink water till the time we are not extremely thirsty. What needs to be kept in mind is that thirst is not a clear indicator of dehydration. In fact, your body may already be dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty. To make sure that you keep drinking water, try setting an alarm on your phone for every half hour to an hour. Carry a bottle of water everywhere you go. Keep your bottle at your desk, so that it reminds you of having water often. Use a reusable bottle and keep refilling it, as needed.
- Look out for alternatives– If having just water sounds boring, you can go for naturally flavoured water. Fruit infusion drinks or water infused with mint or cucumber rings is the best for summer. Prepare these items freshly at home and store them in the refrigerator till use You can also choose to have coconut water or buttermilk as healthy alternatives to water. Herbal teas, soups and warm drinks are a great choice if you prefer having something warm and refreshing. Avoid colas, alcohol and artificially sweetened drinks as they can cause more dehydration and add to excess calories.
- Plan your diet–Your diet plays an important role during summer. Choosing a healthy diet is also one of the necessary tips for good health in summer. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables that contain water to keep yourself hydrated. Seasonal produce combines the best of nature and delivers your body a much needed boost in terms of hydration and nutrients. Incorporate all seasonal vegetables and fruits like cucumbers, bottle gourd, tomatoes, bitter gourd, bell peppers, melons, berries and citrus fruits. Avoid processed, oily and junk foods.
- Manage your exercise routine– If you are into fitness, make sure you manage your exercise routine to prevent dehydration. Wear comfortable clothing with appropriate gear. Any form of exercise, sports or swimming can cause water and electrolyte loss. It can cause muscle cramps, pain and dizziness in some. So, it is best to plan your fitness routine based on your health and capacity. Preferably, choose early morning or evening hours when it is less hot. Have a healthy protein rich or fruit and dry fruit milkshake to boost your energy. Sip on the water in between and have water-rich fruits and veggies post exercises.
- Keep yourself cool– Protect yourself from heat by staying indoors during peak hours. Wear light colored, breathable fabrics that cover your body to avoid sunburn, tanning etc. Use a good quality sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and umbrellas to cover yourself from the harmful rays of the sun as much as possible. Maintain cool temperature at home, as much as possible
- Plan your travel–When planning for outings and vacations, keep the ‘drink more water’ regime in mind. Carry water along and plan for food and drinks based on these tips to keep yourself hydrated.
- Protect your health – Summer often also brings digestive issues. If you suffer from fever, vomiting or loose motions, it can cause more water loss. Make sure you replenish your lost salts with oral rehydration at such times. Have light, easily digestible foods or sip on water and fresh fruit juices. If the problems persist, then seek medical advice at the earliest
- Be vigilant –While you take all the efforts to increase your water intake, you must also be aware of signs of dehydration. For example, dry mouth, dry skin, fatigue, infrequent urination and excessive thirst. Check your urine colour, which should ideally be light yellow coloured, if you are well hydrated. However, in dehydration, the urine colour turns dark yellow or even darker. This often needs immediate medical aid and rehydration. In babies, fewer tears when crying and less wetting of diapers, needs attention.
Bloods tests can detect salt and electrolyte levels. A urine test can help detect the presence and severity of dehydration. These tests can be performed, as advised.
With the help of these summer health tips you can emerge from this tough weather healthy and hydrated.
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