Thursday, July 21, 2016

Chug, Chug, Chug, Chug!

Staying hydrated, especially in warm temperatures, is essential to your health and well being, as your body depends on water to survive. Consuming the appropriate amount of liquids is critical to maintaining your body weight and ensuring a healthy heart, as well as other organs. As central Illinois is under a heat advisory for the next few days, we encourage you to read up on staying hydrated!

Are You At a Higher Risk of Dehydration?
While everyone can potentially be at risk of dehydration, some are more at-risk than others. For example, people who exercise often at high intensity are more prone to dehydration. Also, people with certain medical conditions and the elderly are at a higher risk, as their cognitive functions are impaired. This means that their brains might not send a signal to their bodies that they need to intake liquids.

You may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking if you:
  • Have certain medical conditions (i.e. kidney stones or bladder infection)
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Exercising in hot weather
  • Have a fever
  • Experience vomiting or diarrhea
  • Are trying to lose weight
Chug, Chug, Chug, Chug!
According to an article published in the Harvard Health Letter, the standard recommendation for daily water intake is 4 to 6 8 ounce glasses per day. However, individual recommendations may vary. Depending on your size and weight, your exercise/intensity level, and the climate, you may need to consume more than the provided standard recommendation.

Several sources, including recommend that, if you are concerned that you are not drinking enough water, to check your urine. If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated while dark yellow or amber-colored urine is a sign of dehydration.

Information from

Symptoms of Dehydration
  • Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheaded feeling
  • No tears when crying
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional immediately.

Medical Daily cites three heat-related illness that dehydration contributes to including: muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

"Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat. The American Red Cross suggests a person move to a cooler place when suffering cramps; once a comfortable position has been assumed, it is best to lightly stretch the affected muscle and gently massage the area. It is best to drink an electrolyte-containing fluid, such as a commercial sports drink, fruit juice, or milk, and if such beverages are not available, water. A person suffering heat cramps should not take salt tablets."

"Heat exhaustion is a more severe condition than heat cramps. Heat exhaustion most often affects athletes, firefighters, construction workers, and factory workers but it may also impact anyone wearing heavy clothing in a hot, humid environment. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, ashen, or flushed skin, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and exhaustion. If someone is suffering heat exhaustion, the American Red Cross recommends they be moved to a cooler environment with circulating air. Help them remove or loosen as much clothing as possible and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fanning or spraying the person with water also can help. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of a cool fluid, such as a commercial sports drink or fruit juice, to restore fluids and electrolytes. Milk or water may also be given. Give about 4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes. If the person's condition does not improve or if he or she refuses water, has a change in consciousness, or vomits, call 911."

"Finally, heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that develops when the systems of the body are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. Signs of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature, red skin that may be dry or moist, changes in consciousness, rapid and weak pulse, vomiting, and seizures. Do not hesitate; call 9-1-1 immediately. While waiting for assistance, immerse the person up to the neck in cold water if possible; if not, douse or spray the person with cold water or cover the person with bags of ice. The American Red Cross suggests you apply rapid cooling methods for 20 minutes or until the person's condition improves."

Information from

Tips for Staying Hydrated
  • Limit your intake of sports drinks and juices as they often contains excessive amounts of sugar
  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times
  • Be sure to drink water before, during, and after every workout
  • Add a slice of lemon or lime to flavor your water
  • Create a schedule; drink when you wake up, before and after  lunch, before and after dinner, and before you go to bed
  • Drink when you're hungry--hunger is often confused with thirst
  • Eat fruits and vegetables--they are a great source of water
  • Don't ignore your thirst
On Campus Resources
If you would like more information on staying hydrated, contact the Health Education Resource Center (HERC) at (217) 581-7786, e-mail, or visit

If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms and would like to make an appointment with a medical professional, contact the Health Service at (217) 581-3013, visit, or stop by the Human Services Building to make an appointment with an Appointment Clerk.


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