Stay hydrated in summer heat

Kenzi Mongar

As Iowa heat increases and sweat becomes more frequent, make sure you are taking responsibility to increase your intake of water. Are you tired or having headaches or unexplained muscle cramps? If so, then you may be getting dehydrated. Maintaining good hydration is difficult to do, especially with scorching temperatures upon us.

“Symptoms of being dehydrated are increased thirst, dry mouth, low urine output and super dark/concentrated urine, unable to produce tears. You can also get a thick, swollen tongue and become lethargic in the advanced stages of dehydration,” said Kala Busby, a registered nurse.

Being in the sun for hours on end can really take a toll on the body. The body uses sweat in order to cool itself down. If there is not much fluid within the body, then it can’t do the job it needs to.

“The best way to prevent dehydration in the first place is to constantly be drinking water. Once you start to feel dehydrated, begin drinking fluids with electrolytes such as coconut water or Gatorade,” Busby said. “Coconut water is the very best thing anyone could drink to quickly reverse dehydration. The electrolytes in coconut water replace what your body is using and sweating out.”

Busby said staying away from super sugary fluids such as fruit juices will help and absolutely no caffeine should be consumed. Busby said these increase dehydration because it isn’t supplementing your body with enough of what it needs.

A simple snow cone or slushy is not enough to make a difference. If the option is available, try a smoothie in order to gain back vitamins and fuel your body. Any fluid is better than none, but keep in mind what you’ve been drinking throughout the day to even it out.

Busby said the best ways to stay rehydrated are just to drink fluids. Some helpful tips and tricks can be used for those that find it hard to drink water on the daily. CamelBak water bottles have become quite popular and make water a lot more fun to drink. Instead of the usual twist-cap top, this water bottle offers a unique feature. In order to use it you have to bite down and use suction to get the water out. This reflex becomes a habit, much like biting a straw, and gets you to drink more than usual.

Flavor packets can also be helpful for pouring into water bottles. Flavors of pineapple, blue raspberry and many more will trick you to thinking you’re not even drinking water at all. Propel and Crystal Light are two brands that make their flavors available in packets.

If you think you may be suffering from dehydration, contact your local medical office for advice or visit Thielen Student Health Center here at Iowa State.