July is on track to be the Earth’s hottest month ever. With that in mind, here are five things you should know about dehydration during these hot summer months.
1. There’s more to it than just thirst. Besides thirst, dehydration’s other common symptoms are dry skin, headaches, muscle cramps, and dark pee.
2. It might not happen right away. Even after spending time outside on a hot day, dehydration can happen hours or days later. So if you know you’re going to be out in the heat or doing strenuous activities, hydrate on the days before and after.
3. It doesn’t need to be hot outside. The summer heat is a big reason people become dehydrated, but other weather conditions like humidity also play a role. When it’s muggy outside you might sweat more, even if temperatures aren’t that high.
4. There’s no magic number on the amount of water to drink. The general rule to follow is eight 8-ounce glasses per day. But everybody’s different, so some people might need more and others less. Factors like your weight, how active you are, and how much coffee and alcohol you drink all play a role.
5. It takes more than just water to stay hydrated. Water is great, but it’s not all the body needs. You need a mix of water AND electrolytes to stay hydrated, which you can get from sports drinks, coconut water, dairy, or the salt in your food.