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Aug 27, 2015

Healthy Living Looks at Tips to Staying Hydrated

Belize has been experiencing below average rainfall and above average temperatures. All Belizeans can attest to the discomfort of high temperatures but one warning that we all need to take into consideration is to stay hydrated. Tonight on Healthy Living, we discuss some signs of dehydration and things you can do to minimize excessive water loss.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

While sunny days maybe perfect for outdoor festivities and fun; the hidden danger of this excessive heat can be dehydration. Our bodies as adults average a composition of sixty percent water; in children, seventy-five percent.

 

Daniel Godinez

Dr. Daniel Godinez, Internal Medicine Specialist

“Water is vital for us; we couldn’t really live without water and there are many functions that water has in your body including control of your internal temperature and heat. Water helps to transport substances within your body and it can also help you to flush out all the waste that you produce every day. In normal conditions, our bodies tend to lose water especially in times when there is hot weather, we lose water through evaporation in our skin; we lose water when we breathe in and out; we lose water through sweating and when we pass urine and so forth. So we tend to lose two to two and a half liters of water every day. And we need to replace that water. Dehydration just means that you are losing more water than you are putting in. And the most common reason is simply that you don’t drink enough.”

 

Mix dehydration with very high temperatures and it can result in heat related illnesses.

 

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“I’m sure you are aware of the fact that in this time of year is when we start hearing in the news that because of dehydration and excessive heat exposure, people usually die because of that—that’s heat stroke. One of the earliest symptoms is that when you become dehydrated, your thirst increases so we have to say that just as a certain company likes to say—obey your thirst is a rule of thumb. But also other things like dry mouth, weakness, dizziness, generalized cramps in your body and if the dehydration worsens, the person can develop confusion, palpitations, fainting spells and even high temperature fever. And if the dehydration is not corrected or it gets worse, the patient can end up having seizures, coma and even death.”

 

So how much water should you be drinking? Well, the body loses approximately two and half liters of water a day and to replenish that the recommendation is eight to ten cups but you should know that your body is borderline dehydrated most of the time, so waiting until you feel thirsty is not the most reliable indicator that it’s time to hydrate. One way though, is to pay attention to your pee. Here’s why.

 

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“One of the first things your body will do when you are becoming dehydrated is that it will start trying to save fluid. And one of the things the body does is to order the kidneys to stop producing urine or to concentrate it…try to steal all the water out of the urine. So as the urine becomes more and more concentrated, it will change color—first from the natural clear color to a yellowish one and then a brownish one.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“So when you start seeing the darker colors of urine….”

 

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“Or when you see that your urine production decreases, then you know yes you are getting dehydrated.”

 

Avoiding the heat is not an option for most of us, and with the children headed back to school next week, Dr. Godinez has the following tips on how to prevent dehydration in both adults and children.

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“Keep hydrated…drink enough water throughout the day. Preferably use cool, loose, light color clothes…that will decrease also the effects of the sunlight and the heat on you. You can avoid prolong exposure to heat, especially in the hours of noon or in the afternoon when the heat is highest, you should try to look for cool places to stay; shady places. It would be ideal to be, at least for a short period of time, in an AC environment, but in Belize that is not really a very popular thing. Avoid excessive physical activity during those hours and very important of course, to keep a source of hydration…all through the day.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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