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Beat the Heat: Stay Hydrated this Summer

 |  For Patients

As the summer temperatures rise, so does your risk of dehydration. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 3,000 people visit Arizona emergency rooms due to heat-related illnesses annually. The ACN team wants to help you stay out of the emergency room and fully hydrated this summer with the tips below.

Be Proactive: Hydrate Before You’re Thirsty

One of the easiest ways to prevent deadly dehydration and other heat-related illnesses – including heat exhaustion, heat stroke and heat cramps – is to stay hydrated. Did you know? Your sense of thirst dulls with age, so it is important to drink water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

The Arizona Department of Health Services recommends drinking 2 liters of water per day (approximately 8 cups), but if you work outside, that amount increases substantially to 1 to 2 liters per hour that you are outdoors.

Here are some tips and tricks to keep yourself hydrated:

  • Start drinking water before you need it: If you’re planning to be outdoors, start drinking the extra water required a couple of hours beforehand.
  • Put a 2-liter pitcher in your refrigerator: Drink it up glass by glass throughout the day to reach your recommended amount
  • Set alarms: If you’re constantly busy, you may want to set alerts on your mobile device to schedule reminders to drink water throughout the day
  • Bring a large water bottle with you: Carry it wherever you go, so you can constantly sip while you are on-the-go or on-the-job
  • Flavor your water: If drinking water all day doesn’t delight your taste buds, add a piece of fruit to your water to change up the flavor
  • Drink through a straw: This will help you consume fluids at a faster rate, so consider purchasing a water bottle that has a straw – available at local merchandise stores like Target and Walmart
  • Keep a tally: Track how much water you are drinking throughout the day to become more conscious of your fluid intake. Whether it’s a note on your mobile device or in a journal – this can help you monitor how much water you are consuming so you can hit your goals

Know the Signs of Thirst & Listen to Your Body

Listen to your body so you can react promptly. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, your body could be telling you that it needs more fluids. You should respond quickly, because if these symptoms are heat-related they can become life-threatening.

  • Headache
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Fatigue
  • Cravings for sweets

Know the Warning Signs to Watch for in Your Peers

Look out for your friends and family members by knowing when they could be experiencing heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. The early detection of symptoms can save lives and protect the people you love.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

  • Cool, moist, pale skin that may or may not feel hot
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and weakness or exhaustion
  • Nausea

Signs of Heat Stroke

  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Throbbing headache
  • High body temperature
  • Decreased alertness level or complete loss of consciousness
  • Skin may be moist or the victim may stop sweating and the skin may be red, hot and dry
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Seizures

Questions for Your Doctor:

  • How much water should I be drinking per day?
  • What medications am I taking that might interact negatively with the heat?
  • How can drinking water benefit my overall health?

Sources: Arizona Department of Health Services, 2021

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