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“I’ll Have Another”: The Importance of Staying Hydrated. By Our July Student Pharmacist, Shawn Rutledge.

The human body uses water in daily functions such as digestion, circulation, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Water is lost each day when you use the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is warm, if you are sick, or are exercising. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to rapid fluid loss. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you can become dehydrated. A severe case of dehydration may require hospitalization.

Symptoms of dehydration include: Little or no urine, urine that is darker than normal, dry mouth, headache, confusion, and dizziness.

Don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to act. It can be hard to recognize when you’re dehydrated, especially as you age. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water.

If you are concerned that you may not be drinking enough water, check your urine. If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated.

A reasonable goal for most people is to drink 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of water each day. Some people are at higher risk of dehydration, including those who get a lot of exercise, those who are sick, and the elderly.

You may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking if you:

  • Have certain medical conditions, such as kidney stones or a bladder infection.
  • Are pregnant of breastfeeding.
  • Are going to be outside during hot weather.
  • Are going to be exercising.
  • Have a fever, or have been vomiting or have diarrhea.
  • Are trying to lose weight.

Water is the best option for staying hydrated. Drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and even caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea and soda, count towards your daily water count, too. While these beverages can help you reach your hydration goal, don’t overdo it. Try to have most of your daily intake be water itself.

Sport drinks such a Gatorade or Powerade are also great for rehydrating, but watch out as they can also be loaded with sugar. They have added electrolytes which can help replace those lost in individuals who have been exercising intensely for a period of over an hour, have a fever or chills, or have been experiencing vomiting and diarrhea.

As an added bonus, water can aid your weight loss efforts. It has been proven that thirst signals may sometimes be confused with hunger. Next time you feel hungry, but have eaten recently, have a nice tall glass of water and you may be amazed how the hunger goes away. Also, substituting water for soft drinks or other sugary beverages can cut an easy 300 to 500 calories per day! 

Tips for staying hydrated (from Familydoctor.org)

  • Consider purchasing a reusable water bottle and carrying it with you on the go. You can refill it multiple times throughout the day with tap water for free and it also helps reduce plastic waste.
  • If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or cucumber to your drink.
  • Make sure to hydrate before, during, and after a workout.
  • Drink a glass of water as soon as you get up. It will help jump-start your metabolism.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s free!





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