With the heat that many areas are experiencing, many people are getting ill because they have failed to stay hydrated. With 60% of our body made up of water, it is so important to make sure we are taking in enough fluids.
Lack of fluids (in addition to high temperatures) can lead to your body over heating. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are excessive sweating, weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache, light-headedness, and muscle cramps. If allowed to continue it leads to heat stroke as the body’s ability to regulate its temperature fails. People who are in the midst of a heat stroke become confused, lethargic and may have a seizure, the skin stops sweating and the body temperature may exceed 106 F (41 C ). This is a life-threatening condition and emergency medical attention is needed immediately.
So how much water SHOULD you be drinking? It does depend on your weight, the temperature and how active you are. This site has a great calculator that you can check to see if you have been consuming enough.
You know you need to drink more water, the hard part is doing it. If you force yourself to drink water every day, your body comes to a point where it craves that fluid. The important thing is to find a way that works for you to keep track of how much you are consuming.
For athletes the water bladder is a good option. They come in various sizes and you fill with water from the tap.
They fit into mini backpacks (or can be placed into a regular one you already own) and are carried on the back. A bite valve is how you drink the water while active.
Water bottles come in plastic, metal and even glass. Some people say they taste the metal in the water and don’t want to use plastic, that is why they purchase the glass versions. We have a variety of bottles and in various sizes. I keep them in a basket in the kitchen with our name clearly written on each one.
Plastic bottles have caused a health stir as people worry if it has bisphenol A (BPA).
Copolyester is light, tough, translucent and very durable but not shatterproof.
High-density Polyethylene is what milk jugs are made from. It is firm and still pliable yet can retain the flavor of the liquid it held.
Low-density Polyethylene is softer and often used in collapsible containers. It is susceptible to punctures and can melt when too close to a heat source. It also has a propensity to retain flavors and odors but some manufactures claim they have ways to negate that issue.
Polypropylene is rigid, light and dishwasher safe. However, hot liquids can effect the plastic and it’s rigidity!
Polycarbonate is a tough, clear plastic that is rigid due to the use of BPA.
Metal water bottles are either stainless steel or aluminum. The aluminum is lighter and dents easier.
Once you choose the materials you prefer, consider how you gain access to the water. Many bottles require the cap be removed every time you take a drink. If you take constant sips all day long, this is not a good choice for you. If you prefer a cap, consider the size of the mouth. Personally I cannot manage to drink for a wide mouth without dripping liquid down my chin. Straws can be difficult to clean. A squeeze bottle allows you to drink a little or lot at a time and it never even has to touch your mouth.
Now that you have a bottle, make sure you know how much water it holds. If you know your bottle holds 20 ounces, you know how many times you need to refill it in a day.
Something to keep in mind, is that many of the electrolyte replacements are loaded with sugar and sodium. They are good in an emergency, however should not become a replacement for water on a regular basis.
Water filters are in your fridge and should be changed regularly. Lowes and Home Depot usually have a large selection.
Another option is the type that fits onto the faucet. The biggest disadvantage is that they tend to be treated roughly and once broken, usually are not worth repairing.
Pitchers are a cheaper alternative. The disadvantages are that the water takes time to run through the filter and it takes up space in the refrigerator.
The last option is a filter that goes on your water bottle. The advantage is that you can filter your water, no matter where you are.
How much a filter helps completely depends on the type you choose. Consumer Reports has a great guide to help you decide.
With all this new information I hope you are encouraged to pick a water bottle you like and stay hydrated this summer.