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  • Scripps Health

How to stay hydrated in the summer heat

What you really need to avoid dehydration

Fluids are essential to keeping the vital organs active. “In the summer months you need more fluid intake,” says Dolly Doctor, MD, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Encinitas. About half a gallon of water a day should keep dehydration at bay for most healthy adults.

However, if you’re working out intensely or dehydration symptoms like headache or lightheadedness have already set in, electrolytes are key. “Water is nice, but when you’re dehydrated you also need electrolytes,” Dr. Doctor says. Skip the diet drinks, though. Sugar helps the electrolytes absorb. “Especially if you’re dehydrated, you need sugar in the drink.”

Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe, based on how much of your body's fluid is lost or not replaced.

It’s always better to nip dehydration in the bud, because severe cases can lead to a hospital trip for IV fluids, and could sometimes result in kidney damage and nervous system problems.

Flavored water to try at home

Mint cucumber lime

There’s a reason this classic combination is a spa favorite.