KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WFRV) – We’ve had more steamy days with temps well into the 90s than we normally do this time of year. So, it’s more critical than ever to know the importance of staying hydrated, how to do it correctly and how dangerous de-hydration can actually be.

“Hydration improves our physical performance, it positively affects all cellular functions as well as our thought processes and our endurance,” said Dr. Andrew Pahl. with Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Kaukauna.

Pahl says the same way hydration affects every cell in our bodies, so can dehydration.

“If we’re dehydrated, we tend to become more confused,” he explained. “You could experience lightheadedness, generalized weakness.”

Pahl says dehydration is more prevalent this time of year.

“We lose more body water with warmer temperatures, and we tend to be more active in the summer as well,” Pahl explained.

He says that, combined with soaring temperatures, can become life threatening very quickly

“Severe dehydration, too much sun exposure, if you’re working too hard in higher temperatures for an extended period of time etc… that can lead to heat stroke fairly rapidly,” said Pahl.

Pahl says children and the elderly are more susceptible to dehydration. 

Signs to watch for?  Confusion, feeling very hot and ironically, not sweating are all warning signs.

“Actually, a big one is decreased sweating,” Pahl emphasized. “The fact that you’re sweating is a good thing,”

If you notice these symptoms, Pahl says the first thing you should do is find a cool place out of the sun and start rehydrating by sipping water, do not gulp.

“If you drink too much water too quickly there’s a reflex that can occur in the esophagus and stomach that will actually make you regurgitate that water,” Paul said.  “So, start sipping some water.”

He also suggests putting a cool cloth on your forehead or even better…

“The carotid arteries are very close to the surface and you have a high amount of blood flow through those,” Pahl explained.  “So, a quicker way to cool your blood flow is to put a cool washcloth over the neck.”

What you should avoid, Pahl says, are caffeine and alcohol which are diuretics that will dehydrate you more. 

So how much water should you be drinking to be well hydrated?  Well, that depends…

“One amount does not fit all,” said Pahl. “You hear about the 64 ounces of water a day. That can vary depending on how active you are.”

A good rule of thumb, he says, drink water frequently throughout the day and just keep an eye on the output.

“We should be drinking enough fluid throughout the day to keep our urine very pale, light yellow,” Pahl said.

Another tip Dr. Pahl recommends is to carry a measured water bottle, so you have a quick way to see how much water you’ve actually consumed during the day and if you need to boost your hydration a bit.

For more information, visit: auroraBayCare.com or use their LiveWell app.  You can always just give them a call too: 1-866-938-0035 or email: healthwatch@auroraBayCare.com