During the dog days of summer, more commonly known as July, emergency rooms across the country see increased numbers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Both can be dangerous or deadly. Especially for seniors.
To help caregivers and the older adults they care for fight dehydration, we have put together this quick overview of hydration essentials.
Concern: How much water do you need?
Answer: Health experts advise you to drink at least 8 – 10 glasses of water a day. If you are out in the summer heat, you should drink an additional two glasses of water before you go out and keep water outside with you.
Concern: I can never drink 8 or 10 glasses of water in a day!
Answer: Hydration is an important part of staying fit. It helps keep your body in balance in a variety of ways. It also helps maintain appetite control. Try drinking two glasses of water first thing in the morning and two with every meal. Then keep water with you to drink between meals.
Concern: I usually just wait until I feel thirsty to drink. Isn’t that OK to do?
Answer: Thirst is a signal that your body is already behind in water intake. You need to drink water before your body sends that “I’m thirsty” signal.
Concern: I really don’t like the taste of water. Can’t I just drink coffee and juice instead?
Answer: No. Coffee can actually contribute to dehydration. The same can be said for sugary juices and soft drinks. Consider adding lemon or lime slices to your water to help jazz up the taste. Some nutritionists also recommend cucumber slices and mint in your water to add flavor.
We also advise you to learn more about the warning signs of dehydration. The health experts at AARP have put together a great article, Extreme Heat Warning: Beware of Dehydration. http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-06-2012/dehydration-signs-and-symptoms.html It offers some great tips on how to recognize the symptoms of heat related illnesses and what to do if you suspect someone is at risk.
Have you or a loved one experienced a heat related illness?