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Water – the best way to do summer

by Wellness Champions, Concordia Plans
Summertime Beach Scene

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. – Psalm 91:1

Ahhh … good ole water.

Water makes up about 60% of your body’s weight, and although you can survive without food for weeks, dehydration can kill you within days or even hours, depending on the temperature and your environment.

Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons:

  • Regulates body temperature.
  • Keeps joints lubricated.
  • Prevents infections.
  • Delivers nutrients to cells.
  • Keeps organs functioning properly.
  • Improves sleep quality, cognition and mood.

Water provides everything the body needs—pure H2O—to restore fluids lost through metabolism, breathing, sweating and the removal of waste. It’s the perfect beverage for quenching thirst and rehydrating your system. When it comes from the tap, it costs a fraction of a penny per glass. Water should be the beverage you turn to most of the time.

It’s impossible to set a single requirement for how much water the hypothetical average American needs each day. The amount you need depends on how much you eat, what the weather is and how active you are. So instead of setting an estimated average requirement for water, as it has done for other nutrients, the Institute of Medicine has set an adequate intake of 125 ounces (about 15 cups) for men and 91 ounces for women (about 11 cups). Note that this is not a daily target, but a general guide. In most people, about 80% of this comes from beverages and the rest comes from food.

Keep reading for more helpful information and how to get the fluid intake you need to stay hydrated so you can continue to BE WELL to SERVE WELL.

The more you H-2-KNOW

Did you know that proper hydration:

  • Helps prevent constipation and the formation of kidney stones.
  • Helps to promote weight loss – since dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger.
  • May limit migraine triggers and lessen severity and/or length of headaches.
  • Supports mental focus, cognition, sleep quality and mood.
  • Can be found in broth-based soups, herbal tea, cucumber and watermelon (which are also tasty additions to plain water).

Here are some other ways to EAT YOUR WATER 

Is malhydration a thing? You bet! This term is related to fluid intake that consists of more fluids that are caffeinated, sugar-sweetened and/or salty more often than not. Signs include dark urine, headaches, irritability, fatigue, dizziness and confusion.

Having fun and staying safe in the sun

While sunshine is essential for your body to process vitamin D, ultraviolet (UV) radiation can quickly damage your skin, no matter your skin tone.

  • 1 in 5 Americans get skin cancer.
  • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S.
  • UV light exposure causes most skin cancers.
  • Just FIVE sunburns double your risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

How to safely enjoy the summer sun:

  • Cover up: Wear a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, pants and sunglasses.
  • Stay shaded: The sun is strongest at midday. Seek shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The sun can still damage your skin on cloudy days or in the winter, so it’s important to wear protection all year long.
  • Wear sunscreen and enough of it: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to protect against UVA and UVB rays. The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention advises applying at least one ounce (a palmful) of sunscreen every two hours, and more often if you are sweating or swimming--even if the sunscreen is waterproof.

Practice sun safety   

When the UV rays spike in the summer months, our skin can be left defenseless. We have all felt the sting of a sunburn after a day in the heat … but is this the most extreme damage our skin can face from the sun?

The most extreme sunburns can result in something that is referred to as “sun poisoning.”

Sun poisoning begins with symptoms like a sunburn, but don’t be fooled. Sun poisoning can lead to more severe situations and may require additional medical attention.

But … can we really get “poisoned” from the sun?

The symptoms of this poison can range from swelling, blisters, headache, fever, nausea and well … you get the picture.

It is important to know if you are at higher risk for sun poisoning in these summer months!

According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, you are more at risk for sun poisoning if you:

  • Take one of the following medications:
      • Antibiotics: doxycycline, tetracycline, and ofloxacin.
        • Acne medications: retinoids.
        • Antidepressants: doxepin and tricyclic.
        • Antifungal treatments: griseofulvin.
        • Antihistamines: promethazine and diphenhydramine.
      • Have a lighter skin tone.
        • Redheads are most susceptible to sun poisoning.
      • Do not wear and sun protection between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
        • These are the hours that the UV rays are the most dangerous and have the most potential to invoke sun poisoning.

      In order to be a champion of wellness this summer, know what to do to protect your body and skin from the hot summer rays! Check out the University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center website for more information!