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Summer Hydration Tips for Parents: Keep Your Kids Safe!

As the temperatures rise, it’s super important to stay hydrated. Did you know that if you feel thirsty you’re already 2% dehydrated? It’s true! Dr. Chandra stopped by NBC 38’s studios in Columbus, Georgia to talk with our good friend Anika Allen about the importance of keeping your kids hydrated in the hot summer months. Check out the full interview below.

Anika Allen:  Well, if you don’t know, now you do. We are officially in summertime. Woo hoo! But that just means it’s hot and you can get really sick from being outside. And something that bothers me is children. We want them to go outside and play, yes. But now it’s kind of hot. So we need to watch them and what they eat and their bodies mainly. So here to help me is Dr. Chandra. How are you?

Dr. Chandra: Good. Thank you for having me.

Anika Allen: You’re back again.

Dr. Chandra: Yes.

Anika Allen: Thank you for coming on. I know it’s early when we do these pre-recordings, but I truly appreciate it. Okay. One thing that happened to me recently … Well, not recently. I was walking around with a jug of water, a gallon of water, and my coworker was like, “You can get sick from drinking too much water.” So since we’re talking about dehydration, can you tell us first, is it possible to drink too much water?

Dr. Chandra: Yes, Anika. It entirely is. In the summer, we’re losing water, we’re losing a lot of electrolytes in the form of sweat, and we need to continuously replenish the amount of water that we are losing. However, there is a particular situation when we could possibly overdo it. So what we’re talking about is a hyponatremia. Is that what you’re talking about?

Anika Allen: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chandra: Yes. So supposing somebody is an athlete and they’re just pouring sweat and they’re out for a long time, and all they keep doing is drinking water, then they’re replenishing water but not the lost electrolytes. So the sodium level in the body drops and that causes hyponatremia.

Dr. Chandra: So a typical scenario would be somebody like a marathon runner who’s exercising for four hours and is only replenishing with water and no electrolytes. So it’s kind of rare but it’s an extreme situation, and the way the body is made, there are so many safety mechanisms that it rarely happens. But I say it’s like you voided your manufacturer’s warranty because you abused the system so much. But yes, for people who train for a very long time, we want them to be aware to replenish with water and electrolytes both.

Anika Allen: That is very important. Speaking of electrolytes, Powerade has electrolytes. Is there a way that you can drink too much Powerade over water? Or do you need a balance of both if you’re going to be working out in the heat as far as band camps, summer camps, running at Lake Bottom, running at Idle Isle Park? What’s the good balance?

Dr. Chandra: So essentially, we want to hydrate with water always. The cutoff point generally is about 60 minutes of exercise. So if you’re exercising up to 60 minutes, we want to pre-hydrate before the exercise with water, every 15 minutes during exercise with water, after the game with water. Almost when you’re reaching the 60 minute mark is when we need to bring in the electrolytes with the Powerade.

Dr. Chandra: Now, the situation though is there’s a huge marketing push. The sports drinks industry is about 30 billion dollars worth. Okay? So the big drink companies, they lost a lot when the world got to know that soda is not good for us. Schools took them out of vending machines. Everybody knows sodas are not good.

Dr. Chandra: So they are doing a lot of clever marketing and promoting these sports drinks. And I see it in my practice every day. You know, kids, parents, they somehow have the perception that the sports drink is healthy. It’s not entirely healthy. It’s to be used in a very narrow and a very specific context, when you’re sweating profusely or exercising for over an hour. And even then, the amount of water and electrolytes that we need is multi-factorial. It’s determined by the temperature outside, the humidity outside, the length of the exercise, the intensity of the exercise, the individual sweating capacity of each athlete and how well conditioned is the athlete.

Anika Allen: Okay. All right, so we’ve talked about being hydrated. What about you’re dehydrated? How do you know that like, “Okay, I’m about to die.”

Dr. Chandra: Too late, no. Hopefully we’ll pick up on that sooner. So some of the earliest signs would be feeling dizzy or weak or lightheaded. You feel thirsty. Now, another really interesting point is, if you are starting to drink water by the time you’re thirsty, you’re a little bit behind the eight ball. Yes. So thirst kicks in typically when there’s 2% dehydration already. So we should be hydrating constantly. However, if you’re feeling thirsty, it’s time to get some water. So some of the earliest signs, as I said, was dizziness, weakness, thirst or dark urine and some muscle cramps.

Anika Allen: Okay. Is there anything else you would like to add about dehydration?

Dr. Chandra: So dehydration can be mild, moderate, severe, and you know, the symptoms we talked about were more with mild to moderate, but severe dehydration can actually be life-threatening. And as a pediatrician, yes we’ve treated multiple kids in the hospital, in the emergency room, even in the ICU and we take it very seriously.

Anika Allen: So how do you become severely dehydrated?

Dr. Chandra:  Good question. So I think the athlete who’s playing is at some risk, but really the cases that we see of severe dehydration are generally, if a child has had severe diarrhea, severe vomiting, severe burns, those kinds of situations.

Anika Allen: So, severe diarrhea could be linked to lack of water. Wow.

Dr. Chandra: Absolutely, because the body’s just losing water and electrolytes.

Anika Allen: That is crazy.

Dr. Chandra: And if you don’t replenish at the rate at which we’re losing, then we go into a negative water balance.

Anika Allen: Okay. Thank you so much for joining us. You have provided me with a lot of stuff. You just don’t understand. I’ve been dehydrated a few times. So thank you for coming. Thank you for sharing with us because it is topping nineties and I just can’t, so I’m sure our viewers can’t either. So thank you so much for coming.

Dr. Chandra: Thank you for having me, Anika. Pleasure.

If you’ve got any questions about this or any other healthcare topic for your kids be sure to get in touch! CLICK HERE.

Preferred Medical Group is currently accepting new pediatric patients at our offices in Columbus / Phenix CityFort Mitchell, and Opelika. In addition to sick and wellness visits, we offer Behavioral Health counselling and ADHD assessments for children. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us directly or schedule your next visit through our convenient online appointment system.  

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