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Heatwave hydration. How to know if you're drinking enough liquid in hot weather

Drinking liquid in hot weather is key to avoiding heat-related illness. How much do you need and what should you drink? In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams gets heatwave hydration info from an Emergency Medicine doctor.

Ice water
Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water in hot weather. thinkstock.com
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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Sweating is your body's cooling mechanism. So when temperatures soar, you need more liquid, especially if you're not used to hot weather.

"When all of a sudden it's hot, nobody has adjusted and you need a lot more water than you'd expect," says Dr. James Miner , chair of Emergency Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

How much do you need to drink to avoid heat related illness? Dr. Miner says that depends, because we all have different activity levels. But there are some things you can do to know if you're drinking enough.

"The most obvious is what your urine looks like," Miner said. "The darker it is, the more water you need. If the urine is completely clear, you do not need any more water."

You do need more water if:

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  • You're sweating
  • You're urine is dark
  • You haven't urinated in 6 hours
  • You're thirsty

If you're thirsty, you're already below a healthy liquid level.
What should you drink? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website notes that water is sufficient if you're eating normally. And that you should avoid liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine.

Older adults and kids under age two are at greatest risk of dehydration.

Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

MORE HEALTH FUSION:
A dog's sense of smell has helped to find missing people, detect drugs at airports and find the tiniest morsel of food dropped from a toddler's highchair. A new study shows that dogs may also be able to sniff out when you're stressed out.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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