As Buffalonians, we’ve all been there. You’re chatting with a new acquaintance from out of state, and no matter what time of the year it is, when you tell them you live in Buffalo they ask, “So is it snowing there now?” There is a national misperception that Western New York does not benefit from a wide range of seasons. In reality, the average temperature in Buffalo during the month of July is 80 degrees. During summer months, it is important that all women, regardless of age or activity level, stay hydrated. As we enjoy the dog days of summer, understand the signs of dehydration, and how you can stay cool and hydrated in Buffalo.
H20 How Tos
We need to continually replace the water in our bodies that we lose urinating, perspiring, and even breathing. Our bodies use water to flush toxins, transport nutrients, and protect the sensitive tissues of the nose and mouth. Women need approximately 11 cups of water per day. If you’re wondering how you can possibly drink that much water, you should know that not all of your fluid intake needs to come directly from cups of water. About 20 percent of your daily fluid intake will come from food, and that percentage will increase if you choose water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes and oranges.
The Heat Factor
While it is important to consume an ample amount of water daily, special consideration should be taken during warm weather months. On hot days increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until the first signs of thirst to reach for the water pitcher. Follow these tips to stay hydrated during the summer:
- Hydrate early and often. It’s easier to maintain your fluid balance if you start out in a well-hydrated state.
- Keep a water bottle on hand, and full, so you can frequently consume water throughout your day.
- Drink extra fluids after exercising.
- Do not try to over-compensate for periods without hydrating by drinking large amounts of water all at once. Doing so could lead to hyponatremia, a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low.
Dehydration Signs and Symptoms
If you experience any of the following, you may already be dehydrated:
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Tiredness or lethargy
- Headaches or fuzzy-headedness
- Reduced urine output or urine that is dark yellow in color
- Sunken or dry eyes
An Important Note about the Elderly
While it is important for everyone, regardless of age or activity level, to remain hydrated, the hottest days of the year can be especially dangerous for the elderly, sick, and frail. As we age, our bodies’ water content decreases. In addition, certain medications that may be taken by the elderly may make them more susceptible to dehydration. To further complicate matters for the elderly, some conditions that impact comprehension, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, can impact one’s ability to remember to stay hydrated. Dehydration, especially for the elderly, can cause serious sickness, and in the worst cases, even death. If you are caring for an elderly loved one, make sure they consume eight ounces of water every time they take medication. Make sure water is easily accessible to them throughout the day, and check-in with your loved one frequently to make sure they are not experiencing any signs or symptoms of dehydration.