With the Valley hitting record temperatures this week, it is crucial to stay hydrated. But what most people may not know is that drinking water won’t do the trick.
Dr. Elizabeth Gillman of Absolute Health in Scottsdale confirmed that water alone can not completely hydrate a person.
Electrolytes, which are not found in just regular drinking water, help absorb water and keep the body hydrated. And drinking too much water can flush out those key electrolytes.
Gillman recommends drinking coconut water or Smart Water, taking daily vitamins or supplements, drinking water with powered magnesium, liquid vitamins or even electrolyte drops -- all of which should be available at health food stores.
Another alternative is adding a pinch of salt and sugar to your water. “Water follows salt,” Gillman said.
She said adding ½ teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar to a liter of water can help ensure your body is consuming balanced hydration.
Some symptoms of dehydration people experience are headache, brain fog, dry skin or even fainting, Gillman said. If you are experiencing these symptoms, the best thing to do is get out of direct heat and consume electrolytes, she said. For more severe cases, and whenever fainting occurs, you should seek medical attention. Dehydration can lead to other heat-related illnesses.
“Arizonans are more at risk for dehydration than people in other parts of the country,” Gillman said.
Dehydration caused by a lack of electrolytes is fairly common, but most patients Gillman sees don’t drink enough water to begin with, she said.
Gillman cited a general rule of thumb to ensure you are drink enough water: Take your body weight in pounds, then divide that in half. The resulting number is what you should drink in ounces daily. Gillman always recommends supplementing the water you drink with electrolytes.
For more heat-related stories, visit the 12 News Heat section.