Dehydration

I've written before about heat emergencies, but with the hazy, hot, and humid weather we're having on the Seacoast this week it seemed a good idea to revisit the topic.

A few week ago I was having a conversation with someone and she mentioned that with the warmer weather she'd been having leg cramps.  Not the type we work out with stretching or movement, but ones that were brief.  So I asked her if she was drinking enough water, she could be dehydrated and getting heat cramps.  She replied that she couldn't be dehydrated as she drank diet soda all day.

Okay.....

So here's the advice I gave her.  Diet sodas are not hydrating.  She needs an electrolyte enriched drink or water.

BUT - she said doesn't like the taste of those.  So I had her try some water with a little lemon oil, and she liked that - hopefully problem solved! Flavoring water will have her drink more of it.

Our bodies need good fluids to work correctly. Coffee, tea, and carbonated beverages don't fill that need.  In hot and/or humid weather we sweat more and need to replace the fluid we losing through sweat.  We also lose fluids when we're sick, but I'm focusing on hot weather and sweating in this post.  She was thirsty in the hot weather and drank diet soda, which did not replace the fluid she was losing.  She was dehydrated.  Her muscles need that fluid to work, and were cramping because they weren't getting enough of it.

I love drinking water, I drink a lot of it.  But everyone likes to.  Some of us are used to the flavors, tartness, or sweetness of other drinks.  I also put essential oils in my water to give them a little flavor.  Citrus oils like lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit taste great.  I usually put 1-2 drops in a tall glass or in my water bottle. Fruit slices are also good to put in your water as well. 

If you do use an essential oil please make sure it is a good quality oil that is safe for internal consumption.  There are a lot inexpensive oils on the market these days that may not be labeled well that they are for external use only. 

Last week I volunteered at Cub Scout day camp.  Each morning the Den Chiefs did a little skit called Weather Rock.  It's fun, and changes every day.  Each skit ends with the same chant "Drink, drink, drink lots of water. Drink lots of water.".  Great idea every day in the hot weather.

Stay cool... and drink lots of water!

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