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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Practice Prevention to Stay Hydrated and Healthy

It’s official!  We are now in the midst of the dog days of summer.  This year the dog days commence on Saturday, July 22nd and end of Tuesday, August 22nd.  The “dog days of summer” refer to those sultry, humid, long, hot summer days that are said to be the most uncomfortable part of the season.  The concept dates back to the ancient Egyptians who believed the energy from the star Sirius combined with the sun’s energy to produce heat waves, drought, thunderstorms, fever, mad dogs and bad luck. 

After being cooped up all winter, it’s tempting to spend as much time as possible outside despite the heat and humidity.  Still, we need to practice prevention to stay healthy and hydrated.  Too much exposure can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke.  Heat stroke is less common but obviously more serious. 

The key is to stay hydrated.  Consuming at least 64 ounces of fluid per day is the best way to ensure proper hydration.  Water is the best choice but it certainly isn't the only option that counts towards the 64 ounces per day guideline.  Most fluids (except alcohol) and many foods also count.  Foods with high water content include the following:  

Broth-based soups
Bell peppers

How do you know if you’re dehydrated?  Understanding the signs and symptoms of dehydration is important.  One sure way to monitor hydration is to pay attention to the color of your urine.  Generally speaking, the lighter the color, the more hydrated you are. 

·         Pale yellow to clear indicates that you are well-hydrated. 
·         A yellow, cloudy color means you need water.
·         A darker yellow-amber color means you are dehydrated.
·         Orangish-yellow and darker means you are severely dehydrated.  Contact your physician immediately.