Late spring in Central Virginia recently had an unusual early heat wave with a week of 90-degree sweltering. These long hot days of summer might be good for backyard barbecues and lazy afternoons by the swimming pool, but they also pose myriad dangers, including the risk of skin cancer, heat stroke, and dehydration.
When it comes to dehydration, there’s a miraculous chemical compound that can help: dihydrogen monoxide. Now, in some corners of the internet you might find paranoia about this chemical compound, because dihydrogen monoxide has a higher PH—level 7—than any acid you could ingest. Plus, if you inhale this chemical, it could be deadly.
That said, the risks are very much worth it. Dihydrogen monoxide—a.k.a. H20, a.k.a., water—is one of your body’s most crucial needs. Conventional wisdom recommends eight glasses (64 ounces, or about two liters) a day, though everyone’s water needs will vary depending on age, activity level, diet, and the like.
Signs of Dehydration
The word “dehydrate” means removal of water – “de,” meaning “removal”; and “hydrate,” coming from the Greek word for “water.” Because of the summer heat, our bodies sweat to keep us cool, so therefore water is quite literally seeping out of our systems. About 60 percent of the human body is made of water, so it’s important to drink plenty of water to replenish the body with the hydration it needs.
Warning signs to watch out for this summer include:
- Feeling dizzy or light-headed
- Dry mouth
- Having dark and infrequent urine
If you experience these symptoms this summer, pause what you are doing, pour a big glass of water, and find somewhere cool and relaxing to take a rest. If you pay attention to your body, chances are good that a glass or two of water and a little bit of time will take care of the problem. If the symptoms persist or are extreme, of course, consider seeking medical attention.
The Habit of Hydration
It’s easy to get distracted in this day and age, so when the heat is blasting, you may need to be extra conscious of your hydration. If you’re one who can go hours without something to drink or you constantly find yourself at the end of the day with dehydration headaches, here are a few things you might want to try:
- Limit your caffeine. Coffee and tea are great for a morning or mid-day pep, but caffeine is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates you.
- Invest in a good water bottle: A 32-ounce bottle filled up twice a day will get you your requisite hydration. Bringing a Nalgene or similar bottle with you wherever you go will serve as a nice reminder to guzzle up.
- Make hydration fun. Hydration doesn’t just have to be about water. Freeze some lemonade ice pops or cut up an afternoon slice of watermelon. Not only will something sweet and cold help keep you hydrated, it’s a perfect way to enjoy a lazy summer afternoon.
Stay tuned to the blog later this month for a few summer recipes from Brandermill Woods. Until then, salud!