As temperatures soar during summer so too does the risk of dehydration. This can be because warmer temperatures increase sweat output or because with the high humidity of summer, sweat is unable to evaporate and cool the body down as quickly as it normally does. This can lead to an increased body temperature and a need for more fluids. This is especially true for kids as they have a relatively smaller body mass and tend to generate more body heat yet produce less sweat than adults, which can lead to dehydration. In addition, kids are more likely not to drink enough fluids to replace what they have lost during summer outdoor activities as they are too busy having fun.
To help avoid dehydration in summer for the whole family:
- Get your kids into the habit of carrying a water bottle around and drinking from it regularly, even if they aren’t thirsty. Keep it interesting by adding lemon, lime or cucumber slices.
- Ensure the whole family starts and ends each day with a glass of water. Also have a jug of water on the table at dinnertime.
- Water can also be found in fruit and vegetables especially watermelon, strawberries, iceberg lettuce, celery, cucumber, spinach, zucchini and rockmelon so include these in meals or add them to your child’s lunchbox.
- Limit alcoholic and caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea or some soft drinks as these tend to pull water from the body and promote dehydration. If you do have a cup of coffee or tea follow it up with a glass of water.
- Restrict high sugar drinks like soft drink or fruit juice, which slow down fluid absorption into the body. Dilute fruit juice to reduce sugar intake and help your child stay hydrated.
- Wear loose‐fitting lightweight clothing on hot days and seek shade when outdoors.
- Keep your house cool by closing curtains and blinds during the day and opening windows at night.
- A way to see if you are well hydrated is to check the colour of your urine – if it is clear, pale or straw‐coloured then they are more than likely ok, but if it is a dark yellow or amber it is important to increase fluid intake.