The WellSpan Spotlight

Here's how to stay hydrated this summer

Here's how to stay hydrated this summer

Drinking enough water is not only important for your health, it also can prevent dehydration, especially during the hot summer months.  

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dehydration can cause unclear thinking, mood swings, overheating, constipation, and kidney stones.  

Drinking water is the easiest and best way to stay hydrated.  Adults should aim to drink six to eight 8-ounce cups of water a day.  

Your body needs water 

Water keeps your body at a normal temperature. It lubricates and cushions your joints while removing waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. It is best to consume water in hot weather, while you're physically active, or running a fever. 

"There is no right amount of fluids to drink as everyone is different, so really the best way to check your hydration status is to make sure when you urinate, it is clear.  If it is getting yellow or dark, you are dehydrated," says Dr. Ryan Crim, lead physician with WellSpan Family Medicine – Carlisle. 

In the summer, it is important to stay hydrated when working outside to prevent heat-related illnesses. You should be drinking fluids every 15 to 20 minutes when outside 

"It is also important to be aware of your medications," added Dr. Crim. "Some antibiotics, allergy medications, beta-blockers, seizure medications, diuretics, laxatives, some diet pills, and ADD medications could actually put you at more risk for heat-related illness." 

Does it have to be water? 

Low or no-calorie beverages like plain coffee, tea, and seltzers are low-calorie choices that can be included in a healthy diet.  

Dr. Crim said, "When you sweat, your body also loses electrolytes, and they are important to replace. Fitness waters are a good choice to stay hydrated and avoid the extra calories that come in regular sports drinks." 

Drinks with calories also contain important nutrients. Low-fat or fat-free milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juice can be enjoyed within the recommended calorie limits. Refrain from sugary and sports drinks as they contain little nutritional value.  

If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation, or alternate it with an equal amount of water.