With mercury shooting through the roof, it is important to up your water intake, says Dr Ajay Agarwal
How much water should we drink in summers? Or rather what is the desired requirement in a day?
During the hot months our body tries to cool down by the natural process of sweating, which in turn dehydrates us. Our body requires more water to replenish what is lost during sweating. With temperatures soaring to 48 degrees, it becomes all the more important to to replace it by by drinking fluids throughout the day. It is also important for the proper functioning of the body and its organs.
There are several factors that come into play when we try to determine how much water each person needs. This depends on the environment, the level of activity, overall health as well as factors like if a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding.
It is but obvious that when the the weather is hot and humid, you will sweat more. This will mean that you need to consume an increased quantity of water.
For someone who spends a lot of time outdoors engaged in extreme level of physical activity which makes him/her sweat will require additional water to replace the fluids that are lost as opposed to a person who spends more time indoors and is desk-bound.
The health of a person also determines the amount of fluid requirement. This implies that a person suffering from any kind of illness can result in dehydration.
A pregnant or breastfeeding woman also needs to take extra fluids to keep the body well-hydrated.
Drinking more water can also help in losing weight. Some of the ways in which more water could be consumed are to drink before you eat, to replace calorie-filled drinks with water and to drink it ice cold.
Water is essential for the removal of toxins from the kidney and the body. It eliminates waste through urine and sweat. Sufficient quantity of the liquid can make your skin glow. It not only helps to regulate internal body temperature, but it also fights bad breath.
There are other reasons why water is essential. Often people do not focus on the fact that it helps muscles perform at their best. It can help boost your brain functions, lighten up the mood, help to prevent and treat headaches and also helps prevent constipation.
Some age-wise tips to make your child drink more water are:
Six months and above
Breast-fed infants are usually not given water before the age of six months. This is the ideal age to give your baby a few spoonful of water daily when s/he turns six months. When they are drinking, let them hold their sipper or cups and enjoy their drink.
One to three years old
Children can certainly drink plain water throughout the day to meet their daily fluid needs. They also intake water by consuming other healthy beverages including milk and 100 per cent fruit juice.
Five to eight years old
Children in this age group should ideally drink around one litre of water every day. Make sure water is available within easy reach all the time. Make sure to keep the water bottles and sipper close at hand even when you step out with them.
Nine to 12 years old
At this stage, the importance of water is for the human body should be taught to the children. The amount of water that the children need varies between one and 1.5 litres.
Thirteen years and above
When they hit teenage, they should ideally consume eight to 10 glasses of water per day. If they like juices, you can mix water with fresh juices.
(The writer is the director, department of Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Noida.)