Think - and drink - ahead!
With the heat of the summer months rapidly approaching this will be good time to remind everyone the importance of our water intake, and to get into the habit of simple hydration.
Dehydration is a condition that results when the body loses more water than it takes in. This imbalance disrupts the usual levels of salts and sugars present in the blood, and can interfere with the way the body functions.
Two-thirds of the human body is composed of water, which aids in numerous functions such as lubrication of the joints and eyes, digestion, and the flushing out of wastes and toxins. For proper mental and physical functioning, a state of balance in the levels of minerals, salts and sugars must be maintained for our health and wellbeing.
We lose water every day in the form of water vapor in the breath we exhale, in our excreted sweat and body waste. Equally important is the small amount of salts known as electrolytes (such as potassium and sodium) that are excreted with the water. Vital organs like the kidneys, brain, and heart can’t function without a certain amount of fluids and electrolytes. It is important for everyone who works in potential heat-stress environments to monitor their fluid intake and guard against dehydration.
When someone becomes severely dehydrated they will need emergency medical care immediately. Intravenous fluids (IVs) will quickly reverse dehydration. Mild dehydration is safe to self-treat at all ages, if it doesn’t worsen.
Prehydration and rehydration are vital to maintaining cardiovascular health, proper body temperature, and muscle function. Prehydration is as simple as starting your day off with a glass of water. Additionally, if you know the day prior to working in an environment that will likely cause dehydration, consume additional water as a preventative measure.