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Saturday, May 15, 2021

WESTERN WELLNESS: DEHYDRATION

With temperatures rising, many people are staying outside and enjoying the sun that we rarely get in Bellingham. With the increase of outdoor activities, we tend to forget to do simple things like drink water, making warmer months a crucial time to stay hydrated.

Tom Schneider is a staff physician at Western’s Student Health Center. Schneider said throughout the school year, students who don’t make healthy eating or drinking decisions often become dehydrated. Many students will grab coffee and a quick breakfast but won’t drink any water, causing dehydration, Schneider said.

The Mayo Clinic describes dehydration as using more water than you are taking in.

Schneider also said higher temperatures increase the risk of dehydration, especially for students or faculty that sweat a lot or are exercising in the sun for more than one hour.

Junior Briana White said how much time she spends outside is impacted by her class schedule.

“It depends on the day and how much I have to do. I spend more time outside if I have class because I live close enough to walk, so I’ll probably spend an average of an hour or two [outside],” White said.

When she does have time, White will go on walks or sit outside and read, she said. She is not generally worried about dehydration because she always tries to keep water with her.

Thirst is the first warning sign of dehydration, Schneider said. Other symptoms can include sluggishness and a low grade headache. If dehydration becomes too extreme, dehydration can lead to loss of consciousness, kidney failure and possibly death.

According to UF Health Communications, up to 75 percent of Americans drink below the recommended amount of water. The website recommends that for each pound of sweat lost, one should rehydrate with a pint of water.

One common myth about water and dehydration is that one should drink eight ounces of water, eight times a day.

As everyone’s diet is different and some water can be obtained from foods, Schneider  instead recommends that one should start the day with a glass of water, and then keep water available throughout the day, especially when going outside.

Schneider also gave ways students can stay safe while enjoying the sunshine. Suggestions include wearing light, breathable clothing and wearing sunscreen. Another tip is to stay hydrated with a variety of fluids like water or sports drinks if exercising for more than an hour.

How do you fight dehydration? Let The Western Front know in the comments.

 

Hanna Brown, “Western Wellness” reporter. // Photo by Ian Koppe
Hanna Brown, “Western Wellness” reporter. // Photo by Ian Koppe

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