Water is the driving force of all nature. – Leonardo da Vinci
Water can be found all around us; so we don’t tend to really think about its importance in out lives. As the temperatures climb, we become hot and begin to perspire, becoming more aware of our need for water. In reality, by the time we are thirsty, we are already becoming dehydrated. On any given day, we lose water through perspiration, urination, bowel movements and through breathing. Our bodies are 60% water with all of our body systems, such as respiration, digestion, circulation, and maintaining our body temperature that need water to function appropriately.
Keep in mind the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, while you are enjoying the outdoors. If you begin to experience heat cramps while exercising, stop exercising and begin to drink fluids, such as water or sports drinks. If your muscle cramps are not relieved after 1 hour or if you have heart problems, seek medical help.
Heat exhaustion may follow heat cramps. With heat exhaustion, you will experience heavy sweating yet have cold, clammy skin. You may have nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, feeling weak with feeling as you may pass out. In this case, try to find shade to cool off and place wet cool cloths on your body and take sips of water. If your symptoms progresses to vomiting or you do not feel better after 1 hour, get medical attention.
Finally, heat stroke is the worst scenario. This is when the body temperature rises and you are not sweating anymore. Your skin color is red and feels hot to touch. You may feel your heart racing, experience dizziness, nausea and confusion. You need to be moved to the shade and use cool wet cloths on the body as well as calling 911 for emergency care. Learn more about warning signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 17 ounces of fluids two hours before exercising and then continue to drink fluids regularly while exercising (Zelman, 2008). It is best to avoid alcoholic beverages to quench our thirst, as alcohol tends to act as a diuretic increasing dehydration.
CHI Memorial Family Practice Associates - Ooltewah is a primary care practice which treats children, adults and seniors. The practice is open Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday, 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. and is located at 6401 Mountain View Road, Suite 109, Ooltewah, TN. Call (423) 495-5951 for more information. To learn more about CHI Memorial Family Practice Associates - Ooltewah, visit CHIMemorialMedicalGroup.org.
Zelman, Kathleen M., MPH, RD, LD (2008), 6 Reasons to Drink More Water. It's no magic bullet, but the benefits of water are many.