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Home » Uncategorized » Hydration in Summer

Hydration in Summer


by Athena R. Huckaby for the Unified Prevention Coalition for Doña Ana County

Urinary tract infections. Kidney stones. Dull, dry skin. Sunken eyes. From serious health consequences to looking our best, dehydration can impact us at every level. Living in the desert, we all know how important it is to stay hydrated, especially in the summer months. Consuming enough water can feel like a full-time job.

When we kick back, it’s important that we keep drinking enough water, but sometimes we can let alcohol consumption get in the way. What are some ways to stay hydrated if we are also drinking alcohol?

First, it’s important that we know that alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes water loss in the body. One of the ways that we determine if we are hydrated is how much we are peeing (urinating) and the color of our urine. We want to be urinating often and for our urine to be light in color. If it’s gold or brown, we’re starting to get into trouble!

Drinking alcohol can fool us into thinking we are well hydrated, because we’re peeing often, and the color is light. We can’t forget that alcohol promotes water loss in the body through our urine, so it’s important to hydrate even more when we are drinking alcohol. What are some tools we can use to do that? We can drink a big glass of water (think a pint glass!) or even two, for every alcoholic beverage we consume (remember that “one drink” is about 12 ounces of regular beer, five ounces of wine, or one-and-a-half ounces of distilled spirits). We have already talked about “mocktails,” and they aren’t just for the holidays! Another strategy might be to consider substituting a mocktail in place of an alcoholic drink. Many great local watering holes now offer a non-alcoholic menu, such as the delicious mocktails offered at Dry Point Distillers in Mesilla.  You can easily make your own! (“Spa Water” anyone?)

Another thing to consider when drinking alcohol in the summer, and avoiding dehydration, is the setting of the consumption. Are we going to be outside where it is hot and we’re sweating? Are we going to be at the lake or the river? Don’t forget that when we are dunking in the water, we may be sweating more than we realize and therefore losing more water! Also, we forget because it’s so fun, but bodies of water and alcohol really don’t mix. 70 percent of teen and adult water recreation deaths involve alcohol. It’s important to keep our wits about us when around water, so we can look out for children, teens, and loved ones. We can be both safe and fun-loving!

The summer is my favorite season! Whether you love it or just tolerate it, don’t forget these tips to keep ourselves comfortable, safe, and hydrated these summer months, whether we choose to drink alcohol or not!

Athena R. Huckaby, MPH, serves on the UP! Coalition Leadership Team and is the New Mexico Community Outreach Coordinator with Ideal Option, a low-barrier outpatient treatment clinic for opioid, alcohol, and polysubstance use disorders. If you think you may have a problem and would like to talk to someone about getting help, please give Ideal Option a call at 877-522-1275.