With the extreme heat facing our community, our attention is turned to keeping our patients and their families safe. That is why we are writing today’s blog on 5 tips to staying hydrated.
Dehydration occurs when you lose or use more fluid than you take in, and your body does not have enough water to perform its regular functions. The good news is that dehydration is preventable! While the amount of water an adult needs each day varies according to weight and individual body needs, the average person requires about six to eight cups of water a day. Here are some simple steps you can take to help you and your loved ones hydrated:
Identify medication that may cause loss of fluids.
Check the information sheets that accompany any prescriptions and talk to your physician. Remember to drink more water when using certain over the counter medications, such as stool softeners or laxatives, as well. Many blood pressure medications are diuretics, so you will need to increase your fluid intake to maintain health while taking them.
Consume foods that are rich in fluid.
While water is the best source of hydration, there are many other ways to boost fluid intake rather than just by drinking glasses of water. Add soups, fresh fruits and vegetables, and ice pops to your meals for quick and easy ways to get more fluid. A great choice for tasty summer hydration is watermelon, for instance.
Limit dehydrating beverages.
Gradually cut back on serving sizes of dehydrating beverages such as coffee, tea, alcohol and caffeinated sodas. Replace them with hydrating beverages including milk, sports drinks, seltzers, herbal teas and 100% fruit juices.
Have water available throughout the day for frequent sips.
It is often hard for many seniors to drink a large glass of water at one sitting. Encourage frequent sipping by having fresh water available by their favorite chair throughout the day and at their bedside during the evening.
Monitor body signs.
Body weight is a good way to keep track of hydration levels. Encourage your loved one to step on the bathroom scale each morning. If she has lost two pounds or more from the day before and has a headache, chances are good she is dehydrated. Mild dehydration involves losing 2 percent of your body weight. Severe dehydration involves a 4 percent or greater loss. Also encourage your family member to check their urine color on a regular basis. A well hydrated person’s urine should be light in color. Dark urine color and/or infrequency of urination are signs of dehydration.