I Don’t Need No Stinkin Water, Throw Me A Beer!!!
Ahhh, yes. Here we are again. July 4th marks the middle of summer and it’s time again for fireworks, sunburns and loads of dehydrated fun in the sun. There is so much to do around this time of year, it can be overwhelming.
Every blog in the ether will be writing something about the 4th of July weekend (at least US based blogs since our holiday weekend doesn’t mean whole heckuva lot to the rest of the world – especially in England ) What you don’t need is another “How To Blow Off Three Fingers With Fireworks” or “Top 10 Barbecue Hats” or “What’s More Manly: Potato Salad or Shot-gunning a Beer in Under 7 Seconds?” posts – even though that last one has some legs.
Nope, today’s post on manliness is all about dehydration, what happens when you don’t pay attention to it, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. July 4th weekend just happens to be when most Americans will experience some form of dehydration so it is indeed timely. Water makes up approximately 60 to 70 percent of the human body by weight, so this is something that must not be ignored while out there hooping it up with friends this weekend.
Signs of dehydration
When you say to your buddy “I don’t need no stinkin water, throw me a beer!” or any other form of ridiculously slurred statement caused by either too much alcohol, overdose of soggy chips, or getting hit in the head with the errant Jart. This statement alone means your are dehydrated and probably delusional. Get a water in your belly as soon as you can and by all means grab a seat in the shade.
Seriously, these are sings that you don’t have a enough water in your system. Take a read…
- Headaches similar to what is experienced during a hangover
- Blurred vision or what some call vision snow (clouding of your vision)
- Extreme thirst (but when this happens, it usually means you have to stop everything and rehydrate)
- Skin flushing
- Dark colored urine
- Dry mouth
- Fatigue or weakness
- Chills (commonly known as the “chilly-willies” amongst my nephews)
- Head rushes
Most of the time, we are walking around dehydrated and we don’t even know it. It’s not a big deal since we are not taking part in physical activity under the sun. Also, most of us are in controlled temperature places, so our bodies can recover quite quickly. However, if you are out in the sun and taking part in any physical activity (even walking), it is paramount to stay in tune with your body is telling you. You need to lose only 2% of one’s normal water volume to actually start seeing the symptoms. Only 2%!!! That’s crazy and it can happen within 20 minutes of physical activity during the hot summer.
If your body has lost just 10% of its water mass, experts tell you to get emergency help IMMEDIATELY. On a 200 pound fella at 60% total body fluid, that is only 12 pounds or water loss. That seems like a lot, but how do you know? Have you ever weighed yourself after a few hours of playing hoops with the boys? I have and you lose A LOT of weight due to water loss during that time. It is not uncommon to lose that much weight if you are getting to it on the court or any other activity out in the sun.
In extreme cases, you will see guys drop with seizures, completely lose muscle control, faint or start to act even more delirious than what they already are. Not something to mess with when the temp’s are north of 100 degrees and you have added alcohol or caffeine to your already stellar diet.
Simple tips to staying hydrated
These simple tips can help make getting enough fluids part of your daily routine (not just when you are partying this weekend):
- Have something to drink when you first get up in the morning
- Carry a plastic water bottle with you – even if you have an adult beverage in the other hand (don’t worry, staying hydrated is manly – passing out because you were an idiot is not
- Drink water before, during and after exercising, especially in hot weather. Experts say drink water every 10-15 minutes as you exercise
- Remember to drink before you get thirsty. This one is key. If you are already thirsty as you exercise, chances are you are too late
- Limit caffeinated, sugary or alcoholic beverages (the best you can). Caffeine acts as a diuretic and can cause you to lose fluids quickly. In addition to having extra calories, the fructose, or natural sugars, in fruit juice can slow your body’s ability to absorb fluids
- Monitor your fluid intake. My friend has rule when partying (especially outside). For every beer he drinks, he must drink a glass of water before going for another one. Doesn’t need to monitor too much, just follow the simple rule and you will be taking in enough
- While sleeping off the duress of the party, keep a glass, cup or plastic bottle of water next to your bed. Better yet, do this every night as you body can always use the extra hydration
- Learn the signs and symptoms of dehydration
A thought about the kids…according to experts, infants and children are “more susceptible to dehydration than adults because of their smaller body weights and higher turnover of water.” Normally, they do a good job or drinking when they are thirsty, but on hot days, they get distracted and will forget. They turn over water faster than adults and don’t have sufficient reserves. Keep a careful eye on the little ones during the barbecue party…
If you wait until you’re thirsty, you’ve waited too long to drink. When you drink less fluid than you use you are dehydrated – simple enough. Electrolytes found in Gatorade or Propel Water may help bring the minerals back to the body faster, but oftentimes it is no better than pure water when you are dehydrated.
Finally, a good rule of thumb for hot or humid environments or during strenuous activity involves monitoring the frequency and character of urination. If you urinate at least every 3-5 hours and the urine is only lightly colored or colorless, good chance you are not experiencing dehydration; if the urine is deeply colored, or you urinate only after tons of hours or not at all, you are heading for trouble – you are dehydrated and it is time to put down the beer and grab some water. Listen to your body and watch the signs. This way, you will be able to read all about potato salad and shot-gunning a beer in tomorrow’s post.