Thursday, August 18, 2011

Water, Water Everywhere

There is a body of water which could become dehydrated. Yes, this is true, and the body of water is the human body – if it is exposed to hot weather, physical activity and a dry climate.

The most perfect machine know, that of the human body, is composed of 60% water. Most chemical reactions which take place in the body require water. Did you know you could lose 1-2 quarts of water with a little activity on a hot day? Your body needs water to maintain the “perfect machine” by balancing its blood and urine concentrations as well as preventing “the perfect machine’s” overheating. Our skin takes care of overheating by allowing us to perspire, just like an evaporating cooler. Perhaps the overheated cares we see on the road, with steam coming from the hood ought to take note.

It only takes one hour to feel the effects of dehydration when fluids have not been replaced. Some reactions may include an increased pulse rate and/or increased body temperature, headache, nausea, dizziness and excessive sweating – not fun to take to your favorite garden party.

Don’t Cramp Your Own Style
You may also take heat cramps to your next summer event if you have been working out hard with activities such as tennis, jogging or biking without enough drinking water for hydration. Heat cramps are brief, intermittent muscular cramps in calf muscles and can be treated with rest, water, cooling and stretching.

If not treated, dehydration could advance to produce the sever symptoms of a potentially lethal condition, called heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include fatigue, confusion, goose bumps, delirium, ataxia (wobbly legs) and coma.

How to Hydrate
When it’s a hot summer day and you have had been resting in the sun, you should replace fluids by drinking at least 8 ounces every hour. However, if you are working in the garden, you should increase your fluid intake to 8 ounces every half hour. If you are exercising, plan to drink 8 ounces of fluids every 15 minutes to stay hydrated.

Water, Water Should be Everywhere
If you wait until you are thirsty to hydrate yourself, you might be reacting too late. By the time you feel the sensation of thirst, significant fluid depletion may have already started. You should maintain fluid replacement on a regular basis before thirst occurs.

Summer is a good time to begin a program of regular hydration to maintain health. It should also become a habit throughout the seasons. Chronic mild dehydration may be the cause of dry skin, constipation, muscle cramps and generalized fatigue. If you take diuretics or antihistamines, take heed, and more importantly take water -- you may be at extra risk of dehydration. Consuming alcohol on hot summer days may also put you at increased risk of dehydration.

64 ounces of water is recommended daily, and increase that with exercise. It is easier to drink 8 cold glasses of water throughout the day than to drink all 64 ounces at once, such as just before you go to sleep; or you may need to read an article about sleepless nights.

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