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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Don’t forget to drink (water)

    It’s hot outside, and even so much as walking to lectures and labs in Tucson can be hazardous.

    With new classes, new friends and a new routine, it is important to stay hydrated while the grueling heat pounds down upon us.

    “”Dehydration is fairly common in college students because they don’t drink enough water and are more physically active than most other adults,”” said Dr. Steven Rosenfield of Tucson Medical Center.

    New out-of-state students are more likely to experience dehydration than their in-state counterparts, said Dr. Michael Bundschuh, assistant professor of the UA’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

    “”Some out-of-state students are not used to the fluid requirements here in the Tucson heat,”” he said. “”They think that if they don’t feel thirsty then they don’t need fluids.””

    Waiting for thirst is not an adequate indicator of dehydration, Bundschuh said.

    “”About one liter (of fluids) is already exhausted when you feel the urge of thirst,”” Rosenfield said, adding that symptoms of dehydration can be felt in as little as 20 minutes after exposure to heat.

    Dry lips, dark-colored urine, dizziness and confusion can all be signs of dehydration, said Gale Welter, a nutrition

    counselor at Campus Health Services.

    Drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated, and a good rule of thumb is to monitor your urine color – it should be clear and pale, Welter said.

    Students who are outside should drink a quart of water per hour, depending on body size, Bundschuh said.

    Those preparing for exercise should drink 20-40 ounces of water 30 minutes before they begin, Rosenfeld added.

    Avoiding drinks containing caffeine and alcohol may also help stave off dehydration, because they drain the body of fluids by causing more frequent urination, Welter said.

    “”Alcohol is very dehydrating,”” she said. “”As with coffee, you would want to drink water with it to clear your system out.””

    If any of the warning signs become apparent, Bundschuh and Rosenfield agreed that it is important to move into shade or indoors.

    “”A person affected by heat exhaustion may be hot and confused, but not necessarily sweating,”” Rosenfield added.

    Temperatures in the 90s are common in Tucson through October, and students are exposed daily to conditions that can stress the body.

    “”The best prevention from dehydration is to know where you’re going, how long you’ll be there and being prepared for unexpected circumstances,”” Bundschuh said.

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