Hydration Risk Increases in Hot and Humid Conditions
With our weather being very hot this week we look at the importance of hydration. It is important to think about preventing dehydration and heat-related illnesses. In this month’s Blog Glenpatrick raise awareness so people can understand the dangers and importance of hydration.
Heat exhaustion develops in people who are exposed to high temperatures and who do not drink enough fluids. People who are especially at risk for heat exhaustion are the elderly, children, people with high blood pressure, and those who work or exercise in hot environments. During heat exhaustion, the body is able to maintain a normal temperature for a while, but only at the expense of other body functions. If not treated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. In athletes, heat exhaustion results in sudden decreased performance and exhaustion.Symptoms of heat exhaustion include.
• Heavy sweating
• Muscle cramps
• Dry tongue and thirst
• Nausea or vomiting
If possible, offer the person water to drink.Up to 60% of the human body is water, and only about 10% of this water is in the bloodstream. A lot of the water in the bloodstream can be lost through sweating. In fact, during intense exercise in hot and humid conditions, we can sweat up to 3 liters, which is almost all of the water in the bloodstream.
In dry hot weather and, in these humid conditions, the body tries to cool itself by sweating even more. If you do not replenish the water that your body loses, you will become dehydrated.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It is unlikely that conditioned athletes will develop heat stroke, but young children, elderly people, chronically ill patients, and even pets may easily get heat stroke. Heat stroke is a severe form of hyperthermia (very high body temperature) and requires medical treatment right away. Because the body’s cooling system has been overwhelmed by heat and dehydration, the body temperature may rise to 103°F or higher. If a person does not get treatment right away, heat stroke can lead to permanent damage to the body’s organs, including the brain. In some extreme cases, people who do not get help right away can die.Some signs and symptoms of heat stroke include
• Body temperature of 103˚F or higher
• Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
• Rapid heartbeat
• Severe headache
If possible, offer the person water to drink.Up to 60% of the human body is water, and only about 10% of this water is in the bloodstream. A lot of the water in the bloodstream can be lost through sweating. In fact, during intense exercise in hot and humid conditions, we can sweat up to 3 liters, which is almost all of the water in the bloodstream. In dry hot weather and, in these humid conditions, the body tries to cool itself by sweating even more. If you do not replenish the water that your body loses, you will become dehydrated.
How much water should I drink during exercise?
Exercising vigorously in hot weather can be challenging. But you can safely exercise in hot weather if you take the proper precautions. One of the most important things to do is to stay hydrated and decrease your exercise intensity on very hot days. Keeping your body hydrated during exercise helps replace the water lost from sweating and prevents fatigue and poor physical performance.
Feeling thirsty is not the best indicator of your body’s water needs, because thirst occurs after your body is already dehydrated. Also, your thirst is usually satisfied even before your body’s water supply is fully replaced. This means that during workouts, you should drink water even if you do not feel thirsty.
The amount of water your body needs to stay hydrated depends on your body weight, body temperature, and the type of exercise you are doing. If you are dehydrated after an exercise session, it will take time to replenish the body’s water. Drink several glasses of water spaced out throughout the day. You are usually well hydrated if you pass a good amount of very light yellow or clear urine a couple of times before going to bed.
For workouts of less than 1-1/2 hours, you should
• Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool or cold water 1 to 2 hours before you exercise.
• Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool water or a sports drink 15 minutes before you exercise.
• Drink about 5 ounces (150 mL) of cool water every 10 minutes during exercise.
• Have about 34 ounces (1 L) of cool water on hand per hour.
• Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool or cold water or a sports drink just after exercise.
Other Important Factors.
• Avoid direct exposure to the sun. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
• Drink cool water rather than cold water, because the body absorbs cool water faster.
• Do not drink juices or sodas during exercise, because these drinks contain more than 10% carbohydrates (sugar) and are not absorbed well during exercise. It is okay to drink sports drinks because they usually contain less than 8% carbohydrates, but these can lead to too many calories if you drink too much of them. When it comes to workouts lasting less that 1-1/2 hours, there is no difference between drinking sports drinks and cool water to stay hydrated. Sports drinks do replenish the salt and minerals lost through sweating, although a healthy diet is usually adequate for this.
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