17 Jul 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hydration

Now that we’re entering the hottest summer months, it’s time to talk about hydration. Heat exposure, sweating and consuming substances that increase urination (such as alcohol and caffeine) can cause your body to lose fluids quickly.  Symptoms to watch for are headaches, fatigue, brain fog, dry skin, dizziness, increased thirst and dark urine.  Your urine should be clear and light yellow.  If you take B vitamins then a fluorescent yellow that dilutes throughout the day is normal.  You should be urinating at least once every 4 to 6 hours. While it is preferable to drink smaller amounts of fluids frequently, the overall goal is at least 2 liters per day and 3-4 liters if you are sweating or working in the heat.

There are several reasons patients find it difficult to drink enough water:

 

1. “Water is boring and has no flavour.”

Try adding some sliced fruit, cucumber or frozen berries to your water bottle. A splash of unsweetened juice can also improve flavour but be cautious of the sugar content.  Herbal teas can be brewed and refrigerated overnight for home-made iced tea.  Sliced ginger adds both warm and cooling sensations and can improve nausea if you have overindulged. Carbonated water or low sodium Club Soda is refreshing and a good alternative to sugary sodas.  Eating watery fruits and vegetables will also help to keep you hydrated, satiated and provide fiber -  focus on cucumbers and melons.

 

2. “Water just goes straight through me and I still feel thirsty.”

Electrolytes help replenish lost salts and minerals.  You can add a small pinch of sea salt to your water or use an electrolyte mix.  Watch for added sugars.  Bitters can help quench thirst and are great for digestion.  As a sugar-free alternative to tonic water, I like to add several drops or droppers of Canadian Bitters to carbonated water until satisfied with the taste.

3. “I forget to drink enough water during the day and don’t want to get up to pee at night.”

Find a way to incorporate water into your daily routine.  Getting up from your desk once every hour to stretch and refill your cup is great for productivity and to keep your mind clear.  When working outdoors, I find it useful to put a half full water bottle in the freezer overnight to make a nice solid block of ice then continually top up the bottle with water throughout the day.  Cold water is much more appealing than luke-warm water when you are sweating your “tail” off.

 

Remember: if you are working in a hot environment, hydration is a safety issue.  DO NOT work too long without a hydration break.

Feeling rough after too many beers at the cabin or simply parched from spending too much time in the heat?  Consider parenteral therapy.  IV fluids and nutrients help replenish your body and can give your liver some much needed TLC.

 

By: Naomi Whelan

 

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