Staying hydrated is something I often struggle with when I’m not hot. It seems I’m way more aware of dehydration when I’m outside sweating but if I’m inside in the A/C I don’t tend to think of it and then I will go outside to do something and I find myself realizing there’s no way I should have been outside because there’s just not enough fluid in me to keep me going and I immediately retreat to the kitchen to make myself a bottle of water.
Everyone’s body deals differently in the heat. While sitting at the Mud Bog this year waiting for my turn to race (yes, I race a truck in the Mud, yes you can call me a redneck I don’t care) I thought to myself I don’t feel too hot but as the day progressed I started getting warmer and my body felt weepy almost like I’d melt into a puddle on the floor. This was my way of knowing I needed more water and sometimes when I reach this point I feel like Gatorade does me better however, that may just be a mental thing because it goes down easier. The temperatures soared in the days following the Mud Bog, some days to 105 degree heat index. The entire first week of school the kids got out half day due to the extreme heat. How do I as a woman and mother deal with this?? Well the way any other person in the US deals with is – we have A/C. However, there are a lot of people in this area who just don’t have the finances or the ability to have A/C. I know several families who suffered through the last few weeks of heat with nothing but cold water and a window fan. Thankfully we didn’t have any rescue squad calls for heat stroke or dehydration despite the weather.
I never realized before social media just how much people complain, maybe it’s even made me more aware of how grateful & positive I need to be. They complain about the winter, the snow, the neighbor and definitely about the heat but that is one thing that never really bothers me. At first I wasn’t sure if it was just because I grew up near the ocean and it’s humid there more often than not?! or if I’m just strange… lol. I’d believe that, that I’m just strange. I often joke I’m a sun baby because I was born in June, I love the sun and heat and I’d almost give up my A/C… almost. The more I thought about it I realized something… people who are often complaining about being hot are usually sitting there with a soda or beer in their hand, instead of something that will hydrate them.
What exactly is the process our bodies go through when we are hot, how do we cool ourselves?? First we take off clothes, notice in the summer shorts and tank tops are a norm, less clothing means we are trapping less heat from our bodies. Second may be not having anyone or thing close to us. I know when I’m really hot the last thing I want is one of my kids sitting on me… it just makes me feel that much more hot. That is because our body cools us by losing heat though our skin just like we absorb it from a heater in the winter time we release it when we are hot. The other way is through perspiring or sweating. Our body has a cooling system much like the radiator in my truck that I race. It uses the water in your body to create a sweat that evaporates off your skin using that process to cool you. (there’s all these really fancy big words that explain all this in-depth at this link: Ehow) My point is if you haven’t taken in any water how can your body perspire?? It can’t and then you can become dehydrated.
Dehydration is defined as a condition that occurs when the loss of body water exceeds the amount of water taken in. We lose water everyday through several different ways not just perspiring something I guess I never realized. Which would make sense why drinking water is SO very important all the time not just when we know we will be exercising or it will be hot. Severe dehydration can lead to death so really this is nothing to just shrug off. We need to be aware of our own bodies and know what to look for if we become dehydrated.
Symptoms of dehydration:
* dry mouth
* swollen tongue
* increased thirst
* sluggishness, fainting
* in ability to sweat
* decreased urine output (if your urine is dark in color you may be dehydrated)
* Fever, due to over heating or sickness
* Infection internal or external
* Burn to the skin or mouth
It’s fairly easy to get dehydrated in extreme circumstance like when we are sick and we realize it immediately or we wouldn’t have things like Pedia-lite to give our kids when they are sick. It’s equally noticeable when the heat index is 105 degrees. However, we need to be aware of it all the time even when it’s not hot or we aren’t sick or there is no ‘extreme’ to sway us because then we are one step closer to being healthier. One step closer to drinking water like we should everyday.
DRINK WATER EVERYDAY!!
Recommended dosage: according to the Mayo Clinic; 3 liters for Men (13 cups)
2.2 liters for Woman (9 cups)