With temperatures averaging 48°C, the combination of intense heat and high humidity has made this summer uncomfortable. We feel thirsty and sweat more and it’s important not to become dehydrated.
There is more to dehydration than thirst. It can be a serious condition leading to problems ranging from swollen feet or headache to lifethreatening illnesses such as heat stroke. Here in Bahrain, heat stress is a major concern related to occupational health. An industrial company survey carried out in 2016 found 56 per cent of workers were dehydrated at the beginning of their shifts. Employees were encouraged to drink water at the beginning of their shift and during work hours, helping to reduce instances of heat exhaustion.
Water is essential, making up around 60 per cent of the human body. The brain and heart are composed of 73 per cent water and the lungs about 83 per cent. Thus, drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the functions of the body’s systems. Fluids carry nutrients to the cells, flush bacteria from the bladder and prevent constipation.
Water remains the best thing to stay hydrated. Other sources include fruits and vegetables which contain a high percentage of water. Sports drinks with electrolytes may also be useful for individuals who exercise, though they tend to be high in sugar and calories. The same applies to fruit juices or sugary drinks, such as soda. Caffeine-containing drinks, such as coffee and tea, act as a diuretic and cause you to lose more fluids.
Around 1 to 1.5 litres per day for a healthy person is enough to prevent dehydration. Certain medical conditions may require less or more fluids, so it’s best to consult your doctor or dietitian for specific recommendations.
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