It is summer in the northern hemisphere. The temperatures are hotter than usual, especially with climate change. So now, more than ever, we need to focus on drinking enough water.
Water, H2O, is an essential nutrient. That means we cannot produce enough from our body processes to sustain ourselves . Furthermore, we can’t get enough just from eating solid food. We must drink enough water to meet our body’s needs.
An easy way to know how much water you need daily is to take half your weight in pounds. That is the number of ounces you should drink every day. For example, a person weighing 200lbs should drink 100 ounces of water per day.
While a person can drink too much water, it is pretty rare. When it does occur, it is often in athletes who over-hydrate or as a result of certain forms of mental illness. It usually comes from drinking more than 1 liter of water per hour, over several hours. However, most healthy people will not drink too much water under normal circumstances.
On the other hand, dehydration is relatively common. It occurs when we take in less water than we use in metabolism and lose through breath, urine, sweat, and feces. Even though we can survive for days drinking less than the recommended amount, long term dehydration can lead to big problems like:
- Heat injury. Heat injury occurs when we don’t drink enough and sweat heavily. Heat injury can range between mild heat cramps to potentially life-threatening heatstroke. (read more…)