ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Each year hundreds of people die from heat-related illnesses, but the first step to prevent this is making sure you stay hydrated.
Phoebe Putney Nurse Practitioner Betsy Diaz said the average adult’s body composition is about 60 percent water, and dehydration happens when we lose more water than we take in to our bodies.
She explained even mild water losses can cause a mild case of dehydration, and children and the elderly are at even higher risk.
They can have less than 1 percent water loss and can cause problems.
“If you’re going to be planning these activities outside you have to make certain that you’re already starting your re-hydration process even before the activity begins, typically 24 hours before the activity begins,” stated Diaz.
Diaz recommends staying inside in the air conditioning, especially during the hottest portions of the day, between late morning and late afternoon hours.
If you do have to work outside it’s crucial to stay hydrated throughout the day and rest often.
She also said to be sure to wear lightweight and light colored clothing if you’re out in the heat for extended periods.
Diaz said it’s really important to stay hydrated while being active outside and even afterwards.
Some of the signs and symptoms of early dehydration include dry mouth, thirst and dark urine. You can also feel dizzy or fatigued.
She recommends not waiting until you’re thirsty to start re-hydrating.
If your symptoms last more than 24 hours then you need to call 911.
You also should avoid alcoholic beverages.
“We definitely want people to avoid excess caffeine intake. We also want them to avoid excess energy drinks,” explained Diaz.
She said caffeine, energy drinks and alcohol can actually cause dehydration.
And you don’t want to over-hydrate either .Diaz recommends not drinking more than six cups of water in one hour because you can throw off your electrolytes.
So stick with the golden rule of eight, 8-ounce glasses per day. If you’re outside try to consume eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.