Details for FAMILY FOCUS COVER 15

Prevent dehydration during the
dog days of summer
A person’s desire to be outdoors can
sometimes be at odds with the outdoors
itself. The dead of winter tends to be a time
of year when people know to stay indoors,

but the dog days of summer can be dangerous as well.
Heat-related diseases like dehydration
can put lives at risk. According to Johns
Hopkins Medicine, children and
people over the
age of 60 are particularly susceptible
to dehydration.
Understanding
dehydration and
how to prevent
it is essential for
anyone who plans
to spend time
outside during the
summer.

Understanding dehydration and how to prevent
it is essential for anyone who plans to spend
time outside during the summer.

What is dehydration?

The U.S. National
Library of Medicine notes that a
dehydrated body

does not have enough fluid and electrolytes to work properly. On an average day,
the human body needs about three quarts
of water. But the USNLM notes that
anyone planning to spend time outside in
the hot sun needs significantly more water
than that to avoid dehydration.

What are the signs of dehydration?

Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that people
experience dehydration differently. However, there are some common symptoms
that indicate someone is dehydrated. These
symptoms include:
• thirst,
• less frequent urination,
• dry skin,
• fatigue,
• light-headedness,
• dizziness,
• confusion, and
• dry mouth and mucous membranes,
• increased heart rate and breathing.
Children who are dehydrated may exhibit
additional symptoms, including dry mouth
and tongue; no tears and crying; no wet
diapers for several hours; sunken abdomen, eyes or cheeks; listlessness; irritabi-

lity; and skin that does not flatten when
pinched and released.

How to prevent dehydration

Drinking plenty of fluids when working
or playing in the sun is one way to prevent
dehydration. Being sure to take in more
fluid than you are losing is another way to
prevent dehydration. Anyone, and especially people who sweat a lot, should keep a
close eye on fluid loss when spending time
outdoors in the summer. Sports drinks
that help people maintain their electrolyte
balance, such as Gatorade, can help prevent dehydration as well. Pedialyte is often
recommended for sick infants or children
who have experienced vomiting, as it can
help restore electrolyte balance that was
adversely affected when kids became sick.
The solution can be equally effective at restoring electrolyte balance that was thrown
off during heat exposure.
Dehydration poses a significant health
risk at any time of year, but people who
spend time out in the summer heat may be
especially vulnerable. Limiting time spent
outdoors on hot days and keeping a close
eye on your fluid intake and fluid levels can
help prevent dehydration.

The effects of UV rays on the eyes

The sun can be both friend and foe. A warm, sunny day
can improve mood and increase levels of vitamin D in the
body. Exposure to sunlight during the day also can help
regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, known as the
circadian rhythm. However, overexposure to the sun can
be dangerous as well.
Exposure to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a
short period of time can cause photokeratitis, which is
essentially a sunburn of the eye that can cause pain and
redness. Prolonged exposure to UV rays without adequate
protection may cause lasting damage, says the American
Optometric Association. UV rays come from both the
sun itself and tanning beds. HereÕs a look at some of the
common UV-induced eye conditions.
• Cataracts: A clouding of the eye’s natural lens, or the part
of the eye that focuses the light a person sees.
• Macular degeneration: UV rays may lead to macular
degeneration, which is a leading cause of vision loss for
older people. The macula is the center portion of the retina,

essential for vision.
• Pterygium: This is a growth that begins
on the white of the eye and may involve the
cornea. The growth can eventually impede
vision, says the organization Prevent Blindness America.
Sunglasses and other protective lenses are
essential to keeping the eyes healthy. AOA
says that for sunglasses to be effective, they
should:
• block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A
and UV-B radiation;
• screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light;
• have lenses that are perfectly matched in
color and free of distortion and imperfection; and
• have lenses that are gray for proper color recognition.
In addition, people can wear wide-brimmed hats to protect
their eyes from the sun and harmful UV rays. This will

shield the eyes and the delicate skin of the face.
Learn more about protecting the eyes at www.allaboutvision.com, www.aoa.org, or www.preventblindnessamerica.
org.

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