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Summer safety tips: Hydration is a must

This summer you might be planning to get outside and partake in a variety of fun activities. But whether you’re planning to hike, play bocce ball or just relax in the water, it’s important that you stay safe and stay hydrated.

William Roberts, M.D., professor with the University of Minnesota Medical School, Family Medicine and Community Health, is here to offer his summer safety tips for staying hydrated:

  1. Have fluid source readily available – Plan ahead and make sure you drink enough water throughout the day and night to replenish fluids lost during activities. That means drinking when you are thirsty and keeping your urine color light yellow like lemonade and not dark like apple juice.
  2. Water will do the trick – For most people water will be sufficient enough to keep you properly hydrated. If you are working really hard, you might need to replace calories that are lost due to perspiration. A soda or sports drink can help with fluid and calorie replacement.
  3. Be careful when drinking alcohol – If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. The health saying is you can have two per day, but you can’t bank them. A good strategy is to alternate alcoholic beverages with water. With alcohol you can only count on about 75 percent of an alcohol beverage ending up in the body as fluid.
  4. Listen to your body – When the temperatures and activity levels rise it’s even more important to listen to your body and take breaks if you start to feel light-headed, feel overheated or if you develop a headache. These are warning signs that something is not right. Don’t ignore them!
  5. Don’t take in too much fluid – It might sound a little strange but be careful of drinking too much fluid. This can lead to the opposite of dehydration – over-hydration or hypernatremia. My rule of thumb is to not drink if you are not thirsty, if you feel water sloshing around in your stomach, or you don’t feel well and you have been taking in fluids.

Stay safe, have fun and have a great summer!

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