Austin | Camp Health

Keeping Cool in the Heat

It’s mid-summer, and the weather is hot, not to mention extreme around the country.  There is one common and overlooked strategy to help survive the heat and stay healthy, and that is hydration.  You may assume your child is drinking enough and camps are providing water consistently, but the importance of drinking fluids, especially water, should not be ignored.  Below are some facts, tips, and recommendations to make sure every family member survives the heat.

The human body is composed of a majority of water, making it necessary for survival, only second to oxygen.  The recommended daily ounce consumption varies and can be calculated by dividing one’s weight by half.   Additional factors such as activity level, weather, and muscle mass will increase this number.  For example, a 100 lb. child that is active two hours at camp should be drinking at least 114 oz. daily (100/2 + 64).

Not all fluids are created equal!  Sports drinks, soft drinks, and juice are some examples of replacements that add unnecessary sugar, chemicals, and calories, with very few benefits.  Sports drinks are designed for hydration from exercise and should be limited and watered down, due to the high sugar content.  Soda should be avoided even if it is all-natural, diet, or made with real sugar.  Obesity, diabetes, cavities, and low nutrient levels are just a few by-products associated with frequent consumption.  Juice also comes in all forms and varieties, and contains anywhere from 5 – 100% actual fruit juice.  Although 100% fruit juice is nutritious, it can contain 10 – 40 grams of sugar in just 8 oz., developing a sugar addiction at any age.

Always make sure there is plenty of cold water available and encourage frequent and regular consumption.  Water prevents fatigue, over-eating, cancer, memory problems, joint pain, and indigestion while enhancing athletic performance, overall health, and the regulation of body temperature, not to mention saving money spent on other beverages.  Water boredom can be cured by adding sliced fruit, herbs, or a small amount of 100% juice.  Fruit and vegetables contain a high percentage of water, also aiding in hydration.

Habits are made at an early age, so make sure the camps, schools, and other organizations your child is involved in promote healthy habits, such as drinking plenty of water.