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Well…summer is definitely here, and it looks like it is here to stay. With high temperatures, clear skies and large public gatherings, we do not need to be convinced to get outside for our daily dose of vitamin D.
However, even with all of these pros, there is still potential for the body to get pushed off balance. To be more specific: dehydration.
In the medical world, dehydration can lead to 2 different scenarios: heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
The Down Side
Here’s the deal:
Apart from the rare summer cold/flu that may pop up, there is a down side to summer. Even though your body is making and storing all of this delicious vitamin D for the winter, it is also tying to keep your body from overheating. The body’s best way of doing this is by sweating.
Now don’t get me wrong…
Sweating has its benefits: for one, it helps to detox the body of toxins. The problem comes when the body cannot make enough sweat in order to cool the body.
This is where it gets dangerous…
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body has lost most of its water and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) due to sweating. More on electrolytes later…
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: muscle cramps, pale/moist skin, nausea, weakness, light-headedness, and a possibility of fainting.
For heat exhaustion (aka dehydration), it is recommended to first find some shade and take a break from the sun.
The next two actions include:
Heat stroke is more serious, and occurs when the body cannot make anymore sweat.
Its symptoms include:
So what should you do if this occurs?
When it comes to heat stroke, it is recommended that you present to the emergency department of a hospital IMMEDIATELY. It is also a good idea to present to the emergency if you are not sure about the person’s well being.
So, how do you prevent the bad stuff from happening when you are out at the beach?
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!!!
The big question is: What should I hydrate with?
Before we get to that, let us see what we should keep to a minimum…
The first is alcohol. Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body. Alcohol consumed in the correct amounts is not a problem during the summer. However, it is good to counter that with drinking water after each alcoholic beverage consumed.
A good guideline is to consume one 8 oz glass of water after each alcoholic drink. However, this is better recommended when the temperature is not causing us to sweat. For this reason, it would be better to increase this amount to 1.5-2 times that amount for the hot summer months.
Second, iced coffee. Yes, it is delicious. However, iced coffee, just like regular coffee, is also a diuretic like alcohol!
So just like the recommendation above, I would recommend that you have 1.5-2 8oz glasses of water to rehydrate from this tasty treat.
Ok! The moment you have all been waiting for!
So, the best way to rehydrate is by adding a source of electrolytes to our water. This helps the absorption and retention of water in the body, since it mimics the electrolyte concentrations of our blood. Electrolytes, notably potassium and sodium, are also used in many chemical processes that help the body function properly.
What’s the best formula for rehydration?
* 2 cups of water
* 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
* 1 tbsp organic maple syrup
* juice of 1/2 a lemon
Here is a bonus tip:
You can also use this rehydration formula after you exercise at the gym, have a sauna or peat bath treatment, and even after a bath in Epsom salts. The gym and sauna treatments will cause you to sweat and lose electrolytes, while the peat and Epsom salt baths will cause you to absorb minerals. Either way, it would be a good idea to rehydrate to prevent dehydration.
Want more great tips? Meet the interns from Leslie's Tuesday night shift at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic. We'd love to support your health!