At least three out of five people you meet on the street is carrying a water bottle. Not that it is the new fad in town but rather the scorching sun rays have descended with a menace that is yet to be rivalled. It is equally important to ensure that children get plenty of liquids to stay healthy and active.
Hope Nankunda Mwijuka, a mother of three daughters, says it is important for parents to encourage their children to keep hydrated by telling them the benefits of staying healthy.
She shares that during holidays, she encourages her daughters to drink four glasses of water on a daily basis.
“I make water points very accessible so that one doesn’t have to struggle seeking help to access drinking water,” Nankunda adds. After having meals, Nankunda says she ensures that her daughters, aged five, eight and 11 respectively drink either water or fresh juice made from home. The juice, she says, is not only made from passion fruits but also mixed with other fruits to make it taste different to attract children to drink more of it to keep hydrated.
Fruits in the house
“Keeping fruits in the house is also very important in such a hot season. I buy different fruits like mangoes, watermelons, pineapples, oranges and paw paws and encourage my daughters to eat them. All these help them not to get dehydrated during such a hot season that has dragged on for a long time because sometimes they need an alternative to water,” Nankunda observes.
Umarashid Guloba, a doctor at Makerere University Business School Health Centre, says that during the dry season, it is important to stay hydrated because the human body contains approximately 70 per cent water.
“Ideally, men are required to drink three litres of water every day and women should drink at least two and a half litres of water. This is the recommended volume after you have taken tea and juices,” Dr Guloba says.
He explains that through the processes of respiration or breathing and perspiration or sweating, it is where the human body loses a lot more water. The only ways, he recommends the lost body water can be replaced or compensated is if you drink a lot more than your body loses.
“If you are someone who sits in your office from morning and leave in the evening, it is advisable to drink at least two litres of water. For women who stay in office most of their working days, it is recommended to drink at least two and a half litres of water daily and this water should be at normal room temperature,” Guloba advises.
Other ways to keep hydrated
Hope Nimurungi, a dietician based in Mukono, says besides drinking water and juice, other ways through which you can keep your body hydrated in the hot season includes eating plenty of fruits that contain high volumes of water.
“If you are someone who doesn’t like drinking water, you should eat plenty of water melons because they contain approximately 90 per cent water. When you eat celery, it will also keep you hydrated because it contains approximately 95 per cent water and cucumber which contains approximately 95 per cent of water,” Nimurungi advises
Not to be taken lightly
While most of us will only experience mild dehydration symptoms like headache, sluggishness or decreased urine or sweat output, it can become severe and require medical attention. Serious complications include swelling of the brain, seizures, kidney failure and even death, according to Mayo Clinic.
Fortunately, adults can nip mild or moderate dehydration in the bud by taking extra fluid, Mayo Clinic reports. But when not attended to in early stages, adults may develop extreme thirst, dizziness and confusion and stop urinating. Symptoms should be taken seriously in children and older adults, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Did you know?
Dr Alex Mugalu, a general surgeon, says children are much more prone to dehydration than adults because their bodies do not cool down as efficiently, and they are more at risk than during the heat of summer. The danger arises when fluids are leaving the body through sweating faster than they are being replaced, and severe dehydration can be life-threatening. Taking a few simple precautions will protect your child and allow him to enjoy the holiday fun safely.
It is important to avoid caffeinated drinks such as iced tea or many sodas. As a diuretic, caffeine can contribute to the dehydration process by increasing fluid loss. Beverages such as soda or juice-flavoured drinks might taste refreshing, but the high sugar content is unhealthy for many reasons and should be avoided for hydration except as a last resort.