Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital offers tips for staying hydrated during hot summer months
The Woodlands - August 17, 2016When summer temperatures soar, it’s not enough to take a dip in the water at the pool or beach to cool off. You need to drink water, too!
Staying hydrated by drinking the proper amount of fluids is important year-round, but it is especially critical during the summer months, say physicians at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital.
“Houston’s heat and humidity take a toll on anyone who is outside for any length of time,” says John Fackler, M.D, who specializes in orthopedics and sports medicine at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital. “Even people who are just sitting outside can easily become dehydrated when the heat index is high. But it’s especially true for people who are running, playing tennis or golf, or doing other physical activities. It’s not unusual for an athlete to lose as much as five pounds through perspiration during an outdoor workout. That’s a lot of fluid that has to be replaced to ensure that you aren’t putting yourself at risk of heat stroke, which is very serious.”
The amount of water an active individual should drink to stay properly hydrated varies from person-to-person and is impacted by a wide range of factors.
“Different people perspire differently, and people with certain medical conditions, or who take medication that includes a diuretic, often need more fluids to stay hydrated,” Fackler said.
Fackler recommends that people avoid outdoor physical activities during extreme heat and during the hottest part of the day, typically late afternoon. Drink fluids before you head outside and take frequent water breaks throughout your activity. If you wait until you are thirsty, Fackler said, you’ve waited too long.
“In hot, humid conditions, by the time your body sends a signal that you are thirsty, you have already reached a dehydrated state,” he said. “The best way to tell if you are properly hydrated is to check the color of your urine. If it is pale in color, then you are properly hydrated. If it is dark, you need to drink more fluids immediately.”
Dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion, which causes fatigue, headaches, nausea and/or vomiting, muscle cramps and dizziness or loss of coordination. If you or someone you know has these symptoms, move immediately to a shaded area or preferably inside, drink fluids and apply ice to cramping muscles. If symptoms continue, go to the nearest emergency room.
Fackler stressed that heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition, can occur suddenly without an individual suffering from heat exhaustion. Heat stroke symptoms include confusion or loss of consciousness, convulsions, a rapid rise in body temperature and a marked decrease in sweating. If someone you know is suffering from these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.
“Understanding the importance of hydration and managing our fluid intake properly is a key part of being an athlete – or even just an individual who enjoys outdoor activities,” Fackler said. “Summer is more fun when we protect ourselves and those around us.”
Tips for staying hydrated
Physicians at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital share the following tips for people planning summer outdoor activities:
- Two hours prior to exercise, drink at least 16 ounces of fluid
- During exercise, drink about 8 ounces every 20 minutes
- After workout, drink 24 ounces per pound of body weight lost during workout (make a habit of weighing yourself before and after outdoor exercise)
- Limit carbonated beverages and fruit juices during exercise
- Caffeine, alcohol and energy drinks increase risk of dehydration
About Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital
Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital is a not-for-profit, faith-based hospital, which is part of Houston Methodist. For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report recently named Houston Methodist Hospital the Best Hospital in Texas, with national rankings in 11 specialties. The Houston Methodist The Woodlands Medical Hospital will open in July 2017.
For more information on Houston Methodist The Woodlands campus, please visit houstonmethodist.org/thewoodlands. For more information about Houston Methodist, visit houstonmethodist.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit our blog. To find a physician, call 713.790.3333.
For more information about Houston Methodist, log on to www.houstonmethodist.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
About the Doctors
John Fackler, M.D., is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in arthroscopy of the knee and shoulder, fracture care, general orthopedics and sports medicine. Click here to view video
Marc Labbe, M.D., is board-certified in orthopedic surgery and fellowship-trained in sports medicine, with certification of Added Qualification in sports medicine. He specializes in arthroscopic surgery of the knee and shoulder, ligament reconstruction, musculoskeletal pain, general orthopedics and sports medicine. Click here to view video
Eric Price, M.D., is board-certified in orthopedic surgery and fellowship-trained in sports medicine and joint replacement surgery. He specializes in arthroscopic surgery, fracture repair, foot, ankle, shoulder and hip surgery, reconstructive surgery, general orthopedics and sports medicine. Click here to view video
David Dice Jr., M.D., is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship-trained in hand and upper extremity surgery. He specializes in surgery of the hand and upper extremities. Click here to view video
Kenneth Palmer, M.D., is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship-trained in spinal surgery. He specializes in microsurgery and surgery of the neck, spine and lower back, including spinal fusions. Click here to view video
Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine provides leading edge, personalized care from diagnosis through rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Houston Methodist as a top destination for orthopedic care. Along with serving hundreds of area high schools and youth teams, we are the official health care provider for the Houston Texans, Houston Astros, Houston Dynamo, Houston Dash, Rice University Athletics, RodeoHouston®, Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet.