Summer Care Series: The Dangers of Dehydration

For many, the summer means beach trips, vacations, and family fun, but the season can also bring insects, rashes, asthma attacks, sunburns, and more.

While we’re not here to ruin anyone’s good time, we are here to keep you safe and healthy. So, we’re providing a rundown of some summertime perils and how best to treat these conditions.

Southcoast Health reminds you to stay vigilant and not to ignore your symptoms. We are your resource for world-class care close to home, including treatment for seasonal illnesses, minor injuries, and more.

Drinking water and other hydrating fluids are essential all year. However, it is even more important in the summer months, during hotter temperatures. When spending time outside in the heat and sweating, it is more important than ever to replace the water, your body naturally loses. Continuing to stay hydrated is particularly important for older adults, children, and those who feel dehydration effects more severely than others do.

What is dehydration?

The World Health Organization defines dehydration as a condition that results from excessive loss of body water. Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than consumed. Common symptoms of dehydration include: 

  • Feeling thirsty 
  • Fatigue
  • Dark urine
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme thirst
  • Confusion
  • Urinating less frequently

Individuals with chronic illnesses such as kidney disease or diabetes may also be at higher risk of dehydration. 

How does dehydration affect your body?

Water helps your clear toxins, digest food, and absorb nutrients. Lack of proper hydration may lead to dysfunction in these processes. Dehydration may also leave your skin and mouth dry and affect mood and energy levels. 

Boosting daily fluid intake

Your fluid intake depends on the amount of fluid you may be losing. On days spent outside in the hot sun sweating or playing sports, you will need to drink more than when you’re sedentary and inside. Reach for the water to replenish your fluids. Sports drinks may also be helpful but avoid those that may have sugar or artificial sweeteners. Remember, soda, drinks with caffeine, and alcohol should be avoided because they’re diuretics that increase urination. 

The following tips are a couple of ways to keep you and your family hydrated during the summer months: 

  • Fill up – Keep water bottles filled and ready.
  • Use fruit – Add in fruit slices or cucumber to flavor your water.
  • Avoid soda – Sodas are natural diuretics; instead, opt for mineral or seltzer water. 
  • Eat produce – Prepare fruits and vegetables for snacks when you go out. Generally, fruits and vegetables have high water content, which helps keep you hydrated.

As summer rolls on, be conscious about how much you are drinking throughout the day. Also, keep an eye on older adults and children and make sure they are keeping up on their intake.

If you or a family member needs urgent medical attention, come to Southcoast Health Urgent Care. We offer excellent urgent care services for minor illnesses, numerous injuries, and other pressing health conditions that can’t wait.

In addition, Our Emergency Departments at Charlton Memorial, St. Luke’s and Tobey Hospitals are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and Telehealth options are available and scheduled when appropriate.