With temperatures reaching the 90s this past Saturday and summer almost underway, both adults and children should be mindful of heat-related illnesses. Being outside for too long without the appropriate amount of fluids could result in dehydration.
According to the Mayo Clinic, men should consume about three liters of fluid per day, while women should consume about 2.2 liters, with this recommendation varying by individual. But are all fluids created equal?
A new study suggests that people should be wary of trying to re-hydrate by drinking soda. In fact, after experiencing heat-related dehydration, rats who consumed water with added fructose and glucose, elements found in soda, were more dehydrated and had worse kidney damage than those who consumed regular water.
“Substances in soft drinks, like caffeine, can actually contribute to dehydration. Although small amounts won’t often be harmful, it’s best to avoid them,” says Dr. Steven Fox, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “While beverages such as sports drinks, juices and tea can also help you stay hydrated, I recommend drinking water whenever possible, especially if you think you may be at risk for dehydration.”
Dr. Fox recommends keeping an eye out for common indications of dehydration, including:
- Extreme thirst
- Dry mouth
- A less than normal amount of urine
- Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fatigue and irritability
- Eyes unable to tear
If you experience these conditions, consume additional fluids as soon as possible. Contact a doctor or visit an emergency department immediately if these symptoms persist or become severe.
“Men, women and children should pay special attention to their fluid intake while enjoying the summer heat,” says Dr. Fox. “If you’re exercising or planning to be in the heat for a long period of time, make an effort to drink a little extra.”