This spring’s hottest trend: staying hydrated

By Leah Pearlman, Columnist

Spring has finally sprung; the sun is out which means so are University students. Finally escaping the confines of your small dorm room, you may find yourself spending hours outside without much of a break. And when you are enjoying the new weather, you may forget to take certain precautions.

I am talking about hydration. That’s right, fellow students; you expected a column about sun tan lotion didn’t you? Although I do suggest protecting your skin from the sun, my column this week is about something that most people forget to remind themselves about.

Most people drink water simply with meals, or when they feel thirsty. On average, this is an adequate enough way to get your water intake for the day. Because your food actually has water in it as well, you can get enough to survive.

Perhaps the simplest way to ensure you are staying properly hydrated is an old American pastime: urine analysis. A good tip to go by is to make sure you urinate every 2-4 hours and that when you do, the color is clear or light yellow. This is a sign of a hydrated body; however, when it is hot or humid outside, it can make you sweat more. This requires an additional intake of fluid that most do not account for.

Exercise blunts the thirst mechanism, meaning that students out on the Quad throwing a frisbee around for an hour may not feel thirsty, when in fact they need water. It is easy to prevent this dehydration by simply hydrating more frequently

I know a lot of people that buy Nalgenes or Camelbaks and carry them to each class. This is a really good way to make sure you always have water on you and stay hydrated in the hot temperatures.

“I drink a lot of water because if I don’t I get a headache,” said Kerr Oliva, senior in engineering. “I have a Camelbak and I bought it two years ago because my roommate had the same one. I use it everyday.”

Trust me, you don’t want to wait until you actually feel the symptoms of dehydration. They include headaches and cramping, and these signs only show late into the dehydration process because the body is actually very good at hiding it for a while.

There is more to the spring season here at University than just warm weather. Spring invites “darty” season to our Champaign-Urbana campus as well. With these day parties comes day drinking. Excess alcohol consumption can cause dehydration, and it is worse when consumed under the hot sun.

The alcohol causes you to urinate and perspire more than normal. Together these symptoms cause worse dehydration, which is harsh on your body. 

If you are going to participate in the day parties that are spread across this University, stay under porches or inside, and make sure to follow each alcoholic drink with a bit of water. Nothing kills a fun day like feeling terrible and dehydrated.

Plus, severe dehydration can kill you. Binge drinking in the sun could lead to a heat stroke, which occurs when your body lacks fluids because of the alcohol and then can’t sweat to cool itself down. In this case, you would need severe medical attention.

Can everyone think of a simple solution that could make these issues disappear? Let’s say it together… water!

So whether you are walking to class under the sun, or day drinking with your friends, keep the H20 flowing, and you’ll have a much better spring season.

Leah is a freshman in Media.

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