We all need water to survive.
Not only does it make up two-thirds of our bodies, water helps regulate our temperature (such as through sweating) assists with digestion, helps keep our joints lubricated, and our organs functioning properly - to name just a few functions!
Tips to keep hydrated
You should try not to feel thirsty – thirst is a natural signal that you need to increase your fluid intake. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking throughout the day - having an environmentally friendly water bottle nearby at all times can help you monitor your intake.
Place a jug of water on the table for all meals or ask for one if dining out.
If you’re drinking alcohol, try and alternate between alcoholic drinks and water to maintain hydration.
If you don’t enjoy the taste of water on its own or want to spruce it up, add fruits such as berries, lime, lemon or citrus to enhance the taste.
Although water is best, other drinks and foods such as soup, cucumber, watermelon or tomatoes also contribute to you staying hydrated. However, try to avoid caffeinated and overly salty or sugary drinks.
How much do we need?
Women need about 8 cups (2 Litres) while men need about 10 cups (2.5 Litres) each day.
If you are particularly active, play sports, live in a very hot climate or work outdoors you will need to drink more.
The best way to tell if you need more water is to check the colour of your urine. If you’re becoming dehydrated it will be a darker yellow colour, and it’s time to drink more water! If it’s light yellow or clear, then you’re well hydrated.
Hydration in children
Did you know children are more at risk of becoming dehydrated than adults? Children have a large body surface area for their small size, and have faster metabolism than adults which contributes to faster dehydration especially when ill with vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
As a guide, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend for infants:
0-6 months: 0.7 L/day (from breast milk or formula)
7-12 months: 0.8 L/day (from breast milk, formula, food, plain water and other beverages, including 0.6 L as fluids)
For children, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend the following fluid intake over-and-above water found in food:
Boys and girls 1-3 years: 1.0 L/day (from fluids)
Boys and girls 4-8 years: 1.2 L/day (from fluids)
Boys 9-13 years: 1.6 L/day (from fluids)
Girls 9-13 years: 1.4 L/day (from fluids)
Boys 14-18 years: 1.9 L/day (from fluids)
Girls 14-18 years: 1.6 L/day (from fluids)
Symptoms of dehydration
Dehydration occurs when you don’t have enough fluid in your body. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include:
Dry mouth, lips and tongue
Dark urine, and not much of it
Dizziness or light-headedness.
If you have severe hydration, symptoms include:
If you are experiencing early signs of dehydration, visit your local Ramsay Pharmacy for rehydration solutions that contain electrolytes such as Hydralyte®.
Make sure you can access a water bottle at all times and swap out the sugary drinks. Water really is best!