Wright: Staying hydrated for the summer

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 24, 2019

St. John was extremely blessed with the minimal impact we received from Tropical Storm Barry. This is no time for us to let our guard down – Hurricane season is not over and we still have no levee protection. Continue to have a plan put in place to get you and your family out of harms way should we be at risk again. Continue to make sure you clean catch basins and ditches near your home of loose debris. Public Works crews will continuously be out clearing canals and doing necessary drainage work to make sure our arteries are flowing.

In the midst of one of the hottest times of year, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated and take extra precautions in the summer heat. Summer is in full swing and temperatures have reached the triple digits: are you staying hydrated?

Our bodies contain about two thirds water, and while we are out and moving during the heat of the day, we are losing those fluids. Dehydration occurs when we lose more fluids than we take in. This can be even more serious for the very young and the very old; losing these large amounts of water is very dangerous to your health. When the temperatures are extremely hot and humid, it feels much hotter to our body than what the air temperature reads.

The hotter it gets outside, the more difficult it is for our body to cool itself naturally. Our body temperature rises when we lose too much fluid through sweating. Dehydration has several levels of severity depending on how much fluid is lost, but none of those levels are a good thing.

A simple method to determine if you are hydrated is by looking at the color of your urine. If your urine is a pale yellow, you are hydrated. If it is a darker color, your body is in need of more fluids. Having a darker color also means your kidneys are working too hard; it is imperative to protect your kidneys as much as you can.

During extreme temperatures, try to limit your time outdoors to 15 minute intervals. Drink plenty of fluids including sports drinks; however avoid alcohol and caffeine because both will increase the fluid loss in your body. Periodically mist yourself to cool off, especially smaller children and older adults. Mandatory workouts will be in high gear soon as middle school and high school fall sports will be kicking off. Parents, make sure your children are supplied with plenty of water and fluids. If you are just out and about, wear light colored, loose, synthetic clothing. The easier it is for you to evaporate sweat, the more comfortable you will be.

Check out webMD.com for more detailed information on dehydration along with symptoms and causes, and remember to stay hydrated St. John!

Michael Wright is District 5 Councilman for St. John the Baptist Parish. He can be reached at m.wright@stjohn-la.gov.