dehydrationWhether you have kids playing long games of soccer in the summer sun or are preparing to run your first 5K marathon, Hospitality Health ER is here to remind you about the importance of hydration. Dehydration can lead to lethargy, headache, nausea, vomiting, and swollen hands as well as more serious medical conditions, including heat stroke, kidney problems, seizures, and hypovolemic shock. Heat stroke symptoms can set in within hours or days, but rapid onset can occur for individuals engaged in strenuous physical activity. It’s important that you and your kids consume plenty of fluids, especially on active days to prevent health emergencies. Even when you’ve lost just 2% of your overall water weight,  your mental and physical performance can plunge.

How can families make sure they are staying safe in the summer? Here are some helpful tips for preventing dehydration, taken from Robert Sallis, former president of the American College of Sports Medicine:

Preventing Dehydration

1.How Much Should I Drink? One or two hours before you begin working out, drink 15 to 20 ounces of water. 15 minutes before workout, drink another to 10 ounces of water. As you work out, keep a container of water ready and refill as many times as needed. You’ll need to drink at least another eight ounces every 15 minutes. If you’re sweating heavily or working out in the heat, you may need to increase how much you’re drinking. For every pound you lose after exercising, replace it with 16 to 20 ounces of fluid.

2. What Should I Drink? For long, four-hour runs or games, have a sports drink handy or prepare your own. Drinking too much water without sodium can lead to swelling around the brain and heart. When sodium levels in your body drop, your cells take on too much water and swell as a result. Adding sodium to your water will help your body regulate how much water a cell can hold. For shorter games or runs, avoid taking in too many electrolytes because this can lead to other complications.

3. How Should I Drink? Instead of taking small sips of water, take longer drinks. According to Nutrition Reviews in 2015, drinking more with each sip moves water through the body faster. One study found that fluid moved faster in people who drank 20 ounces at a time compared to those who drank 13.5 ounces at a time,  and 13.5 ounces moved faster than seven ounces. It was determined that increased pressure in the stomach from more liquid lets the body know it’s time to get digestion moving.

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