With summer here and the holiday period just around the corner here are some thoughts on keeping everyone quenched and alert particularly when travelling whether at home or aboard.
Whether you're enjoying the British sunshine or holidaying abroad topping up your fluid intake might be the last thing on your mind but is important. When the weather heats up this can drive up the body's temperature and lead to over-heating i.e. feeling very warm, dizzy and disorientated. In worst cases, more typically among children, the elderly or those exercising for long periods in the heat, this may lead to heat stroke,  which can be a very serious condition.
If you are planning some time in the sun, especially if you are looking to exercise it's important not to forget to drink cool fluids at regular intervals so you feel at your best and can enjoy your holiday to the utmost.
Public Health England's new Eatwell Guide recommends drinking 6-8 glasses of fluid per day. This is supported by European recommendations. Whilst you can meet your body's water requirements from other drinks, water is one of the healthiest ways to hydrate as it doesn't contain sugar or calories."
Tips for summer travel1. For car journeys, keep different sizes of water bottles e.g. smaller bottles for children and larger bottles for parents. If you are worried about spillages opt for water as it isn't sticky if spilt, sports caps also help to reduce spills. 2. For short and long-haul flights make sure you drink enough fluid before flying, as air conditioning systems during the flight can increase water evaporation from the skin. 3. If you are intending on drinking alcohol as you relax on the plane, quench your thirst with water first. Our hydration status is constantly fluctuating and drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration, so you should try to alternate any alcoholic drinks with water or a soft drink. 4. On particularly hot days, always make sure you have access to enough fluid to help keep you feeling cool.
Tips for summer holidays1. Fancy a few lengths in the pool, a round of golf or a seaside stroll? Physical activities often immerse you in what you are doing and it can be easy to forget to drink, or you may not realise it is necessary, so having little breaks or easy access to fluid is advisable. For most people water is adequate and it hydrates without containing sugar or calories, so packing a bottle of water is a good idea. 2. Heading to the beach? There may not be access to drinking water, so don't forget to take drinks with you. A cool bag with ice will help to keep the drinks chilled. 3. Young children don't recognise the early signs of thirst, which can make them particularly vulnerable to being dehydrated so offer them drinks on a regular basis. 4. An easy way to monitor changes in hydration status is to check the colour of your urine . This should be pale straw colour - anything darker and more fluid is needed.
By Dr. Emma Derbyshire, public health nutritionist and adviser to the Natural Hydration Council.
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