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In the last week, many cities in the United States have been experiencing extremely high temperatures which can be a cause for health concern for people due to dehydration.
It is normal for our bodies to lose water each day through breathing out water vapors, as well as water loss in sweat, urine and bowel movements. Water is replenished through drinking water and eating foods that contain water – especially fruits and vegetables.
As the temperature increases, the water loss from the body is accelerated and the risk for dehydration is increased. Dehydration results when fluids, mostly water, are released from the cells and move out of the body at a faster rate than they are taken in through drinking water. The best way to prevent dehydration related to high temperatures is through proper intake of water during extremely high temperatures.
Soft drinks, sodas in particular, are not an appropriate choice for fluid intake to prevent dehydration. I mention this because according to the USDA, in 2002, soft drink consumption had increased more than 50 percent in the last 50 years. With this attitude towards fluid consumption, it is sometimes difficult to get children and adults to drink more water.
When the temperatures and heat index is reaching over100 degrees for days on end it is especially important to drink water and other drinks that contain electroytes (Salts and minerals that can conduct electrical impulses in the body that are found in body fluids) – not sodas or other drinks. It is also important to realize that activities like extreme exercise, or prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause mild to severe cases of dehydration.
Symptoms of dehydration include extreme thirst, dry mouth, weakness, dizziness, mental confusion, sluggishness, inability to sweat, small amounts of urine that are very concentrated in color, and heart palpitations. The temperatures could cause dehydration to turn into heat related illness, including heat exhaustion or heat stroke. These symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, and frequent muscle cramps.