Battle summer heat with hydration | News, Sports, Jobs

Battle summer heat with hydration |  News, Sports, Jobs

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Just because you’re in the water doesn’t mean you’re hydrated — in fact, you may forget you still need water inside. It’s especially important to make sure children get enough to drink.

MILTON — There’s nothing quite like the great outdoors for the Espigh family.

Garth and his wife, Erin, took their three daughters, Addyson, Emerson and Camdyn, camping recently during the Christmas in July celebrations at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Milton.

Despite an abundance of water in their surroundings, with the camp-resort’s water park, swimming pool and fishing pond, the Espighs made certain to pack lots of beverages to battle the risk of dehydration while outside in the Summer heat.

“Being in health care, my wife and I always try to preach to the girls the importance of drinking plenty of water, especially during the summertime when it’s hot and humid,” said Garth, whose family lives in Milroy. “We usually take anywhere from one to two cases of water on our trips — not only for us, but also friends who may be camping along with us.”

Spending time at the water park proved tricky for the Espighs, especially under a hot sun.

“Even though you are in water, you are playing around and sweating,” Garth explained. “But you are cool from the water, so you don’t realize that you are losing fluids.”

The same is true when the family is at the playground, heading off to Summer camp or playing at the beach.

“It’s just as important to keep drinking water whenever you are taking a break from playing in the water,” Garth said. “I guess that could go for when you are swimming or playing in the ocean as well.

“We always keep some Pedialyte on hand as well to supplement the water, but it also gives the fluids some flavor to make it easier to get more fluids in,” he added. “Plus, it has electrolytes to replace what you’ve lost from excessive sweating.”

Summer heat waves span across the United States affect millions of Americans, according to Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital. As dehydration becomes more severe with rising temperatures, it’s important to know that there are certain foods and drinks to help people stay hydrated. These include:

• Grabbing fruits that contain lots of water, including watermelon, oranges and apples.

• Reaching for a glass of water or milk and avoid caffeine products.

• Choosing vegetables, such as cucumbers, broccoli and green beans.

The human body consists of 45 to 70 percent of water, but when it starts to get dehydrated and lose water, you can start to get dizzy, develop a headache, become fatigued and even lose cognitive function and alertness.

Taking advantage of healthy options can help regain adequate fluid to start feeling better.

Samantha Cortese, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Geisinger, said hydration is one of the biggest problems people face with regard to becoming dehydrated during the Summer months.

“Often times, people think they have to feel thirsty to need hydration which can be a sign but may also be lacking in some individuals,” she said. “In spending time outdoors — not in a climate-controlled environment — it’s important to keep drinking liquids on these hot days, especially water.”

Cortese said it’s important for people to learn about the healthy foods and drinks their bodies need to help keep hydrated during the summer months. Drinking electrolyte-based products, such as sports drinks, might not always the best remedy for hydration. Eating fruits and vegetables is a great option, she says.

Cortese also suggests having hydrating beverages handy.

“It can be a cold-water bottle, or actually dairy is good for you,” she explains. “Fluids like milk have natural electrolytes. They are slowly absorbed into your system and keep you hydrated.”

Smoothies or frozen yogurt bars are tasty options for staying hydrated instead of the typical glass of milk because they are “cold and refreshing and electrolytes are naturally found in dairy products,” Cortese said. She discourages people from drinking carbonated or sugar-related beverages to get hydrated because they have more calories and the carbonation can make your stomach feel full when it’s not.

“It can make your body confuse its thirst and hunger mechanisms and deter someone from thinking they need to hydrate. Non-carbonated, no sugar beverages are better,” she said.

Younger and older generations are certainly at the greatest risk of dehydration, Cortese said.

“Certain medications can contribute to risk. Also, toddlers are at risk because you might have to prompt them regularly to stop and take a drink,” she explained, adding that another sign of dehydration is seeing darker-colored urine, or if you have not been using the bathroom enough.

“That can mean you are not hydrated enough,” Cortese said.

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