Heat waves can be dangerous, and it’s important to take precautions to stay safe. One aspect to consider is the beverages you consume during extreme heat. Experts recommend avoiding certain drinks to lower the risk of adverse effects. Alcohol is a diuretic that increases urine production, leading to dehydration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against consuming alcohol within 24 hours of working in the heat, as it can increase the risk of heat illness. Coffee and tea, which contain caffeine, can also have a diuretic effect. While moderate consumption may be fine for those accustomed to caffeine, it can be dehydrating for others. Soda, high in caffeine and sugar, can exacerbate dehydration. Research shows that excessive sugar intake can cause water loss and increased urination. Additionally, energy drinks, with high caffeine and sugar content, should be avoided.
To determine your hydration level, pay attention to the color of your urine. If it resembles lemonade or lighter, you’re adequately hydrated. However, if it is the color of apple juice or darker, you need to consume more water. Bad breath and dry mouth can also be indicators of dehydration due to reduced saliva production. The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) highlights other signs of dehydration, such as feeling thirsty, tired, dizzy, or lightheaded, as well as experiencing dry mouth, lips, or eyes.
To stay safe during a heat wave, the CDC recommends staying indoors in cool air, drinking water regularly (even before feeling thirsty), minimizing oven and stove use, and taking cool showers. When venturing outside, it’s best to avoid the hottest times of the day and seek shade when possible.
Remember to prioritize your hydration and choose beverages that will help replenish fluids rather than deplete them during hot weather.