As the temperatures rise and the sun shines brighter, it’s crucial to prioritize staying hydrated to maintain good health and well-being. With summer in full swing, our bodies face increased risks of dehydration, making it essential to understand the importance of proper hydration.

How water can help your body

Dr. Kevin Nowak, Emergency Department medical director at IU Health Saxony Hospital

Water is essential to life and our bodies rely on it for numerous vital functions. Here’s why staying hydrated is especially crucial during the summer months:

1. Regulating Body Temperature: Sweating is our body’s natural mechanism to cool down when temperatures rise. However, this process can quickly deplete our water stores, leading to dehydration. By drinking enough fluids, we replenish the water lost through sweating, helping to regulate our body temperature and prevent overheating.

2. Supporting Physical Performance: Whether you’re hitting the beach, going for a hike or enjoying outdoor activities, staying hydrated is key to sustaining optimal physical performance. Dehydration can lead to decreased endurance, muscle cramps and fatigue.

3. Maintaining Cognitive Function: Dehydration doesn’t just affect our bodies; it also impacts our brains. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can impair cognitive function, leading to difficulties in concentration, memory and mood. By staying hydrated, you can keep your mind sharp and focused, allowing you to tackle any summer challenges with clarity.

4. Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses: Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and inadequate hydration can result in heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. These conditions can be serious and even life-threatening if left untreated. Drinking plenty of fluids helps to prevent dehydration and reduces the risk of these heat-related ailments.

Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness

Recognizing the signs of heat-related illness is crucial for staying safe during the summer months. Common symptoms include excessive sweating, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, nausea and rapid heartbeat. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, it’s essential to take immediate action to prevent the condition from worsening. Move to a cooler place, rest and drink plenty of fluids. In severe cases, such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke, symptoms may escalate to confusion or seizures.

When it is hot, it is easy to become dehydrated. Make it a habit to drink water regularly throughout the day. If you or someone else shows signs of severe heat-related illness, seek medical attention right away.

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