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Drinking plenty of water can stave off dehydration

Posted 24 July 2014 at 12:00 am

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator for Orleans County Health Department

With fair season and this week’s Orleans County 4-H Fair underway it is important to remember to stay hydrateddrink water whether you are thirsty or not. Increased heat and activity outdoors brings certain risks with it, particularly dehydration and heat related illnesses.

Some people are more susceptible than others are to dehydration and heat related illnesses. They include infants, children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses.
Dehydration is ‘the excessive loss of water from the body.’ The more physical activity that you engage in, the more water you are likely to lose.

Possible signs of dehydration:

Dry mouth and fatigue.

If you are mildly dehydrated, you might experience muscular pain or pain in the lower back region or even a headache.

Dark yellowish urine is also a good indicator that dehydration is setting in.

Severe dehydration can cause dizziness, confusion, accelerated heartbeat and eventually, kidney failure.

There are ways you can prevent dehydration from occurring. The most obvious way to prevent dehydration is by drinking a sufficient amount of water to replace the fluids you lose throughout the day.

The best way to figure your ideal daily water needs is to take your body weight and divide it in half. This is the number of ounces of fluid you should be consuming on a daily basis through beverages and foods. For example, a person who weighs 160 pounds should be drinking no less than eight 10-ounce glasses (80 ounces) of water each day. You should drink more than this during extreme heat and/or if you are engaging in physical activity. Talk with your healthcare provider if you tend to retain water and have puffy or swollen ankles, legs and hands.

Consider these suggestions for keeping yourself well hydrated:

Foods with high water content can help you meet your fluid needs. Some examples include soups, stews, citrus fruits, grapes and melons.

Low-fat and fat-free milk, 100 percent fruit juice and decaffeinated tea and coffee can also count toward your minimum eight glasses of fluid a day.

Develop a habit of staying hydrated. Drink a glass of water when you wake up, one between and at each meal, and one at bedtime to make eight. Remember you need more during hot days or when engaging in physical activity.

Keep bottled water in your car, backpack or desk.

When visiting the Orleans County 4-H fair this week, drink plenty of water and take breaks in the shade by visiting the great exhibits the county’s youth have worked so hard on this past year. Enjoy the fair!