Heatwave warning: Dehydration can cause long-term complications – how to stay hydrated

Despite the recent heatwave and hottest July day on record in the UK over a third of Briton’s confessed to not drinking any water in a single day, according to a new study. The research was commissioned by Britvic’s family brands Robinsons and Ballygowan and showed that almost half (46 per cent) of those surveyed dislike drinking water, with 52 per cent saying it is boring, 51 per cent preferring to drink flavoured liquids such as squash, and a quarter (23 per cent) saying they think it tastes funny. Surprisingly, one in 10 do not trust that the water that they drink is clean.

The survey reviewed drinking habits in Great Britain and found that men (71 per cent) drink water more frequently than women (64 per cent) and almost two thirds (63 per cent) of parents find it a struggle to get their children to drink any water day to day.

When it came to symptoms, females were the biggest sufferers of dehydration with 58 per cent suffering from headaches, compared to 35 per cent of men, and 35 per cent having dry skin, compared to just 21 per cent of males.

“Keeping hydrated, especially during the warm, summer months is important for so many reasons”, said Doctor Emma Derbyshire.

“The research shows that half of Britons suffer from headaches as result of being dehydrated and many also feel sleepy if they haven’t had enough fluid.

As well as the short term impact, dehydration may also contribute to more long-term effects such as constipation, reduced kidney function and kidney stones, urinary tract infection and mental confusion so it’s vital to ensure fluid intake is in line with recommended guidelines for men and women.

The simplest way to tell if you are dehydrated and keep track throughout the day is to look at the colour of your urine.

A wearable hydration monitor with immediate results would be hugely beneficial especially for children and the elderly who are particularly susceptible to the effects of dehydration.”

Doctor Derbyhshire’s top tips for staying hydrated include:

Regular timings

Avoid going for long periods during the day without drinking water or fluids.

Most people drink their fluids later in the day when they begin to feel thirsty. Start the day with a large glass of water to top up the bodies water levels before the day begins.

Mix it up

Liquids can come from an array of sources. Diluted squashes, herbal teas and even some foods with a high water content such as melon and cucumber can count too.

Aim for water guidelines

Water guidelines have been set at two litres of water daily for women and 2.5 litres daily from men.

These amounts however can come from both fluid and food sources. Typically 70 per cent should come from fluids and 30 per cent from foods.

Do you need a bit more

If you are particularly active, work outdoors for long periods of time or are pregnant or breastfeeding, water requirements may need to be further adjusted.

For example, pregnant mums need an extra 300ml and a breastfeeding mum an extra 700ml of water daily, on top of basic requirements.

Track it

These days with technological advances it’s much easier to monitor whether we are drink enough fluids or not. So look to utilise such tried and tested monitors.

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