Summer Smarts: Staying Hydrated And Avoiding Heat Related Illnesses, Part I

As we head into the summer season , outdoor activities are beginning! I know my family, and our pets love hiking, camping, beaches and playing out in the sun just as much as any other family. While we move into one of my favorite times of the year let’s talk about something important:

Hydration

This health tip/topic is everywhere! However do we actually know what is happening in our bodies that maintains hydration and what happens to cause dehydration?

Let’s Look into the science!

Our body wants to remain in “operating temperature” or homeostasis. That is why in winter temperatures our body shivers – creating heat! So in the summer we dissipate excess heat into the environment by sweating (1).

Evaporation of sweat is facilitated by low humidity, but when we see higher humidity in places like our town here in Dickson, it is harder for the sweat to dissipate! This is why we get soaked clothing, discomfort, and also even skin issues.

While sweating and dissipating heat, our body works to replace fluid loss in our blood. This relies on our circulatory system and our heart to work hard to keep up to the demand! In hot climates where there is higher humidity it would be ideal to discontinue work during the hotter part of the day, however this is not always possible.

Manual work especially puts us at a higher risk for heat related illnesses. Regardless, we need to make sure that we maintain awareness of our hydration needs. This includes:

  • Our activities, and activity load outside
  • The type and amount of fluids we consume
  • The amount of sweat loss we observe

This can be tough! It’s hard enough to remember that the menial tasks we perform during our day, or during work add this requirement. But it is vital for our summer health to make sure that we continue to monitor our bodies, and the bodies of our loved ones in relation to hydration. But why is it so important?

In Dr. Hebdon’s next blog she will discuss what to look for with heat related illnesses. If you have any other questions about dehydration and proper hydration you can ask our office in Dickson, or call us at 615 375 7100.

References

1. Miller, V. S., & Bates, G. P. (2010). Hydration, hydration, hydration. Annals of occupational hygiene, 54(2), 134-136.
2. Thomas, D. R., Cote, T. R., Lawhorne, L., Levenson, S. A., Rubenstein, L. Z., Smith, D. A., ... & Council, D. (2008). Understanding clinical dehydration and its treatment. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 9(5), 292-301.
3. Mayo Clinic. (2022). Dehydration Symptoms and Causes. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086
4. Glazer, J. L. (2005). Management of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. American family physician, 71(11), 2133-2140.

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