I must admit that “drinking water” does not have the same appeal or quality taste as say an ice tea, a kiwi- strawberry fruit drink, or a soda but during the summer months, even as the forecast constantly changes from one day to the next, one of the best drinks to have to stay cool and avoid dehydration is water. I know it may seem at first unnecessary to remind someone to drink more water when the heat rises or before they reach the point of becoming thirsty, but the simple truth of the matter is that by the time you are becoming thirsty, you are already in route to becoming dehydrated. Our bodies are made up of water but can’t regenerate a new water supply on its own. According to The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, we need to drink at least 48 ounces of water per day to replace the water we lose naturally.
Dehydration can result in that general feeling of malaise with varying symptoms such as dry mouth, dry eyes, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, irritation, trouble with concentration, and cramps. Children are even more at risk, as their physical activity and play increases during the summer. According to a book called Nutrition for Life, “children adapt less efficiently than adults to hot weather and are more vulnerable to heat. They produce more body heat than adults but sweat less and therefore take longer to change their body temperature. In addition, children’s thirst mechanism is not as fully developed as that of adults and they may not express the need to drink and should be encouraged to drink water before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration and heat stroke.”
When it comes to staying cool, drinking more water does not create a placebo effect. It actually does help keep our body’s temperature balanced by allowing us to sweat when we are hot, preventing us from overheating. Contrary to what our appearance looks like when we perspire, you know our clothes clinging to our skin, our shirts feeling more like a wet rag than a shirt, sweat is keeping our internal temperature from going up to potentially dangerous levels. On a hot day we desperately need water to sweat. Sweat is our own body’s cooling system. I can’t promise you’ll look and feel your best when you start to sweat but at least you’ll know you’re beating dehydration when you are drinking more water.
- Jabril Redmond, guest blogger, American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania