How to Stay Hydrated and Healthy─Even in Oklahoma Summers!

It's important for your health to stay hydrated year-round. But in these hot Oklahoma summer months, you may need to pay special attention to give your body plenty of fluids.

Older adults are among the most at-risk groups for dehydration─it's one of the most frequent causes of hospitalizations for people over 65 years of age. In fact, it is one of the ten most common admitting diagnoses for Medicare hospitalizations. Dehydration leads to many health problems, and if it gets severe enough, it can be life-threatening.

On the other hand, staying hydrated allows your body to regulate temperature, maintain blood pressure, and eliminate bodily waste.

Signs of Dehydration

It's important to recognize the signs and symptoms of dehydration. (Surprisingly, many of the symptoms are similar to those seen with people suffering from Alzheimer's!)

Signs of dehydration include: 

  • Forgetfulness
  • Persistent Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty walking
  • Dizziness or headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Inability to sweat or produce tears
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low urine output (or dark colored urine)
  • Constipation

How to tell if you're hydrated

Here's a simple test you can do to see if you're staying hydrated. Pull up the skin on the back of your hand for a few seconds. After letting go, If your skin doesn't return to normal pretty quickly, you are probably dehydrated.

Staying Hydrated

You know the obvious way to stay hydrated: drink plenty of water! But there are other ways to make sure you're getting the fluids you need.

Remember that there are many sources of fluids

You can get a lot of water from your diet. Eat healthy, high water-content foods such as fruits, vegetables, and soups. Include fruits like watermelon, other melons, berries, apples, oranges, and peaches. Among the best hydrating vegetables─lettuce, cucumbers, celery and cauliflower.

Drinks other than water count, too

If you don't want to just drink plain water, try carbonated water, tea, fruit juices─even coffee in moderation will help you stay hydrated.

Drink even when you're not thirsty

You can make this easier to do by keeping a water bottle or glass of water next to your bed or favorite chair.

Warm up your fluids

If you get tired of cold drinks, try some hot tea or hot soup broth.

Give yourself a treat

Popsicles, smoothies and milkshakes are a delicious way to hydrate!

Finally, don't forget the sports drinks and nutrition drinks

Sports drinks like Gatorade and nutrition drinks like Ensure give you important nutrients as well as keeping you hydrated.

Drink up!

As with most illnesses, prevention is the key. It's much easier to stay hydrated than to be treated for dehydration. So we hope you'll make an effort to keep hydrated─not only in the summer days we're in right now, but year round!