Summertime is an invitation to bask in the sun, and live harmoniously with the heat and humidity that sometimes come with it. No matter where you live—and for traveling healthcare professionals that can be great opportunities and travel nursing jobs in all 50 U.S. States—it can’t hurt to review the basics on staying properly hydrated. Healthy Careers touched base with the **Mayo Clinic, as well as dieticians and nutritionists who work with athletes, in order to bring you the following “no sweat” survival tips.
- Tip#1: However mild, deal with dehydration immediately: Registered nurses are among the first to recognize that mild dehydration presents in symptoms like a mild headache, muscle cramps, dark colored urine and diminished sweating; these red flags can escalate into kidney failure, inflammation of the brain, even death—so the best advice of all is to nip thirst in the bud at the moment we feel thirsty.
- Tip#2: Take a Page from the IOM on Ideal Daily Water Intake: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines an ideal daily fluid intake as 125 ounces for men and 90 ounces for women. Keep in mind that 20% of acceptable fluid intake comes from water-filled fruits and vegetables, soups and even caffeinated beverages, so long as these are consumed in moderation. The **Mayo clinic gives, as an example of what is dehydrating (for caffeine), anything in excess of 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day; so long as you don’t overdo it, caffeinated beverages are not dehydrating.
- Tip#3: Drink small amounts of water throughout the day: Because the stomach holds a finite amount of fluid at one time, **sports dieticians recommend drinking smaller doses of water throughout the day, rather than just one big drink before that big game or outdoor hike.
- Tip#4: Take note of how much you are sweating and hydrate accordingly. When we sweat, we need to replenish the electrolytes and potassium lost in the process, which is where a sports drink comes in handy. Athletes can keep their sports drinks all natural by making Healthy Careers’ Hydrating Coconut Splash, which has less calories and sodium than most brand name sports drinks.
- Tip#5: Drink at least 20 ounces of fluid BEFORE You Exercise: Because hydration needs to be proactive, sports dieticians recommend drinking at least 2 ½ cups of water before exerting yourself.
Healthy Careers Wishes RNs and Therapists a Safe and Happy Summer!
For healthcare professionals seeking positive outcomes for patients’ physical therapy or their own workouts, it’s important to note that even a *2% dehydration level diminishes optimal performance. So keep your BPA-free water bottles at the ready, be sure to enjoy fruits and veggies that are 90% water, i.e. watermelon and tomatoes, and monitor your body’s signals for dehydration. Bottoms up for a happy, healthy summer everyone!
**Health information cited from the Mayo clinic and sports dieticians/nutritionists was taken from The Huffington Post’s story and slideshow on Dehydration Myths and U.S. News & World Report’s article: Tips on Dehydration from Sports Dieticians.