Healthy Beginnings

Feel the heat: 7 ways to stay properly hydrated this summer

Staying hydrated in the summer heat of Northern Nevada is extremely important. Photo: Getty Images

The heat is on! Smoldering outdoor temperatures that would make us run like bunny rabbits into our cool, AC-filled rooms are here.

Being indoors during summer is not sensible. Deprived from the sun during this past winter, we as humans would want to relish the warm weather once again. Running, hiking, gardening and getting that tan to a crisp (sunscreen please!) are all fun activities we do, but after some time, they can all result to … dehydration, which is the harmful reduction of total body water in our system that leads to lowered volume of circulation to our vital organs.

We are familiar with the common signs and symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, confusion and irritability. The moment these had manifested, severe dehydration had already occurred. The treatment then would only of be through IV replacement.

The key is always prevention! The recognition of early signs such as thirst, dry and cracked skin/lips, decreased urine output and dark yellow urine is important. Once noted, oral hydration needs to commence. Almost any type of fluid can contribute to replenishment (sad to say not including coffee and alcoholic beverages), but the most important is water. Here are some facts that we need to know about hydration that we usually overlook.

  1. Adequate water intake is related to lowering of the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular accidents (lowers blood thickness), and preventing kidney problems, cancer and constipation.
  2. Our brain is composed of 75 percent water. Dehydration shrinks the brain, which affects brain function.
  3. Fluid deprivation can lead to sleepiness, fatigue, low alertness and worsened confusion.
  4. Absorption of water from mouth to blood takes about 5 minutes. It is faster seen in cold water than warm.
  5. Excessive intake of any fluid or even sports drinks during hot conditions can lead to dilution of electrolytes (such as sodium), which can lead to complications, according to a 2013 study in the journal “Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.”
  6. Urinating immediately after drinking is a sign that the body is saying, “I’m hydrated.” If you did not urinate, this can be an indication of dehydration (“filling up the gas tank”) and the body needs it. Here is a simple hydration test, courtesy of a 2014 study in the journal “Physiology & Behavior”:
    1. Empty bladder (in short, pee).
    2. Drink around 3 cups of water.
    3. You will pee after an hour — if the output is less than 3 cups, you’re dehydrated.
  7. Finally, to boost up the kissing department, hydrated lips makes you a better kisser. The lips become sensitive to light touch, thus enhancing the experience, according to a 2002 study in the “Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.” So … hydrate before kissing people.

Hydration has been taken for granted in our everyday lives. Sometimes unnoticed, other non-essential activities preside over it, which leads to neglect. As part of our IV therapy, we offer hydration along with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and electrolytes.

The fact is — nothing beats continuous oral hydration throughout the day. By drinking good quality alkaline-, BPA- and heavy metal-free water, we will be assured that we can enjoy a cool and refreshing summer.

Melvin Ibarra Nario, M.D., H.M.D., is among the physicians who work at Bio Integrative Health Center International in Reno. Visit bihcireno.com or call 775-827-6696 to learn more.