Staying Hydrated in the Extreme Heat
We're expecting record setting highs today and the extreme Oklahoma heat and humidity can be a dangerous combination. Your body’s natural cooling system bogs down when it’s both hot and humid. If you do not take precautions, you can become very sick.
Acclimate. Gradually “expose” yourself to hot/humid conditions. If you’re not accustomed to being outside—only stay out for a short time, and take frequent breaks from the heat by going to air-conditioned or shady areas. Don’t try to keep up with people who are used to being outside.
Wear: light-colored, lightweight, loose clothing.
Stay hydrated. Most people should choose low-calorie beverages since (most people) don’t need the extra calories that come in soft drinks, sports drinks, or other sweetened beverages, but they do need the fluid. Drink a few ounces (several “gulps”) every 10 to 15 minutes. Then, check your urine to see if you need more.
Monitor urine. Sounds weird, but checking the color of your urine is one of the best ways to detect dehydration. You want your urine to be pale in color—like lemonade. You DO NOT want your urine to be dark in color, like apple juice, or have a noticeable odor. If your urine is dark and smelly—you’re not drinking enough! It is possible to drink too much. If you’re drinking so much that your urine is completely colorless, and you have so much volume that you have to go to the bathroom all the time---you are drinking way too much. Note: Under-drinking is more common than over doing it, but either extreme can be dangerous.
ESPECIALLY FOR ATHLETES:
Practicing in the extreme heat is grueling. Experts recommend getting acclimated by starting with short sessions, and gradually increase your exposure to summertime temperatures. Keep track of how much you drink and how much you weigh—before and after a workout. If you lose more than a couple pounds during a training session, you’re not drinking enough. You should be drinking 1 pint of fluid for every pound you tend to lose. For athletes, sports drinks are preferred because the added sugar helps performance. Monitor urine. Do wear protective gear, as required, but take helmets OFF when you are not in play.
Information provided by INTEGRIS-Health Karen Massey RD/LD