Stay Hydrated During Summer Heat

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

By: Ashmar Mandou

With temperatures rising this week, getting enough to drink and keeping cool while playing outdoor activities is extremely important. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to a multitude of issues ranging from swollen feet to a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. According to the American Heart Association, average of approximately 700 people succumb to heat stroke each year. Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death. Here are a few tips to help stay hydrated this summer.

Drink water—and plenty of it!
Start by drinking a cup of water each morning when you wake up or a glass before bed. Have another glass with every meal. Drink one or two cups after working out. To ward off dehydration, drink fluids gradually throughout the day.

Know the signs of dehydration.
Does your skin feel dry, irritated, inflamed, itchy, or sensitive? That’s a sign of dehydration. Experiencing a headache or feeling dizzy or fatigued? These are signs, too. Muscle cramps, rapid breathing, fainting, and not urinating (or having very dark yellow urine) are others. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, the simple solution is to get out of the heat and drink plenty of liquids.

Eat foods with high water content.
Did you know that approximately 80 percent of our water intake comes from drinking water? The other 20 percent comes from food. All whole fruits and vegetables contain some water, but snack on these for maximum benefit: cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, spinach, strawberries, broccoli, and grapefruit. They all contain 90 percent water or higher.

Cool down.
Proper hydration isn’t just about drinking water—it’s about regulating your body temperature, too. During summer, when the risk for heat stroke is at its highest, wear light, loose-fitting clothing in light colors; schedule strenuous sports and physical activities during cooler times of the day; protect yourself from the sun with hats and other shade accessories; take drink breaks often; and mist yourself with a spray bottle if you become overheated.

To help Chicagoans cool off during this heat wave, the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) encourages residents to utilize the cooling areas:  

Englewood Center – 1140 W. 79th Street 

Garfield Center – 10 S. Kedzie Ave. 

King Center – 4314 S. Cottage Grove 

North Area Center – 845 W. Wilson Ave. 

South Chicago Center – 8650 S. Commercial Ave. 

Trina Davila Center – 4312 W. North Ave. 

To stay in the know this summer, OEMC issues several alerts and notifications to keep residents up to date on weather conditions and emergencies: 
Notify Chicago: Sign up for emergency alerts at  

CHILAKE: For lakefront notices, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5  

CHIBIZ: For alerts affecting businesses, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3  

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