Thank you to our sponsors Baptist Health for providing us with this important content.
Summer may be coming to an end but it’s still HOT in Miami! Staying hydrated is something to remember year round in South Florida. Dr. Rabiya Kazmi, a Family Medicine physician with Baptist Health South Florida, was kind enough to meet with us and share practical, easy-to-remember guidance on how we can help our families stay healthy and hydrated in our tropical Miami climate.
WHY HYDRATION IS IMPORTANT
Water is the one element, besides oxygen, that all living things require. For humans, proper hydration balance allows our organs to function as intended and simply helps us to feel our best.
75% of our bodies are made from water so when we aren’t getting enough, trouble can quickly follow. In Miami our bodies demand above-average hydration because it gets HOT and HUMID. As extreme as the heat can feel, we often take for granted the toll it can have on our bodies. You may not think twice about how the sweat trickling down your neck affects your health but as we learned from our conversation with Baptist Health, it’s something that should be proactively addressed in both adults and children.
HOW MUCH WATER DO MY CHILDREN NEED?
In general, divide your child’s weight in half to discover the number of ounces your child should be drinking each day. If they’re playing sports you’ll want to increase this quite a bit and add electrolytes (any off the shelf will do but avoid sports drinks with high sugar content and food dyes).
EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION
The reality is we are all living busy lives and aren’t measuring every drop that our child drinks (and sometimes can’t remember the last time we took a sip of water ourselves). If you’re concerned that you or your child might be dehydrated, there are visible signs to alert you. It’s important to note that once we notice signs of thirst or overheating, our bodies are already in need of hydration. When you notice any of these signs, you should immediately treat by cooling off and drinking water with electrolytes
- Red face
- Dry mouth
- Reduced urine output
- Dark yellow urine
- Brain fog
- Dry lips and hands
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION
If dehydration is left untreated, it can become severe. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention; call your pediatrician or go straight to the urgent care.
Symptoms of severe dehydration include –
- feeling unusually tired (lethargic) or confused
- not passing urine for eight hours
- a weak pulse
- a rapid pulse
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR STAYING HYDRATED
- Have hydration on-hand.
Start by always having fresh, cool water available for everyone in your family at all times. It’s not necessary to gulp it in one sitting; instead, sip it throughout the day.
- Cool down.
Regulating your body temperature is key in maintaining proper hydration. During summer, when the risk for heat stroke is at its highest, wear light, loose-fitting clothing in light colors, schedule strenuous sports and physical activities during cooler times of the day, protect yourself from the sun with hats and other shade accessories, take drink breaks often, and mist yourself with a spray bottle if you become overheated.
- Chew Your Hydration!
Your daily hydration needs can easily be supported by choosing foods with high water content. All whole fruits and vegetables contain some water, but snack on these for maximum benefit: cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, spinach, strawberries, broccoli, and grapefruit. They all contain 90 percent water or higher!
- Make it fun!
Dr. Kazmi acknowledged that kids may not get excited about drinking plain water again but she suggested making homemade popsicles with water, natural fruit juice and/or electrolytes to spark their interest.
As with countless other basic needs, children rely on their caregivers to provide water. They don’t always recognize the early stages of thirst, and this can make them especially vulnerable to becoming dehydrated. For this reason, it is important that children are informed about water; its value, its importance for the body and good health and why they need to drink water every day. My kids enjoy reporting the color of their urine to me; you may find it helpful to show your children the chart below so they can begin understanding for themselves.