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Stay hydrated and stay healthy

Image: Christopher Robbins | Photodisc | Thinkstock

I thought it only appropriate to address proper hydration during such ‘heat wave’ –like weather (at least where I live right now). Most people will of course increase their fluid intake when it gets super-hot outside, but it’s not just while you are outside. You should be keeping yourself well hydrated even when indoors (like when you are at work!). Besides, you’re body loves to remind you when you are dehydrated in the form of body aches, headaches, loss of energy, slower response reflexes, decrease awareness, etc.

Sweating along with the thirst reflex are your body’s last responses to overheating (yes, I know my fellow nurses are aware of this), but for some crazy reason we use them as a marker for when and how often we should drink fluids. It’s a standing joke at work right now that I’m well hydrated. I drink close to 3 quarts of fluid during my typical 12 hour shift (along with the occasional cup or two of coffee- yes, I have my vices). I drink so much so often that my visits to the restroom are now a source of ‘ribbing’. 3 quarts of water have to go somewhere!

*clearing my throat* – anyway!

With all that being said, do you know how to measure if you are properly hydrated? There is a cheap and easy way to figure it out. Ironically I blogged about it quite some time ago on my personal blog. Check it out:


How do I know I’m hydrated?

So we all know about the recommended daily intake of water. Somewhere around 8 glasses of water. Their are a ton of websites and tons of information on how much and what kind of water you should drink.  Then you have the bottled water vs. tap water debate. I think it’s safe to say we all know the benefits of water.

The human body’s percentage of water is somewhere in the range of 65% or higher. I think I read an article that it can be as high as 78%. The take home message being that your body makeup is more than half water.

So it’s safe to say drinking water is good for the body.  Drinking more will definitely hydrate your body. As to how much and how often we won’t debate (at least not today on this post) Winking We also won’t even skim the surface on the debate of water vs. sports drinks either.

I wanted to talk about how to monitor or measure your body’s hydration. I want to share a quick-fast and easy way to determine if your currently hydrated and how to measure if your hydrating yourself adequately. Now this lil’ trick does not exist in a bubble and is in no way a substitute for true medical advice and medical analysis, but it’s an easy and inexpensive trick.

It’s really simple. Look at the color of your urine.  Is it dark or light? I really don’t care about the shade of yellow or amber, but more importantly how clear is it? Is it really dark or does is it almost take on the consistency of… uuhhmm I don’t know … water?

The more hydrated you are, the closer your urine will look like water. Pretty simple huh? How can you forget that one!?

Now there are some important facts to note while using this little trick:

  1. Let me reiterate this method does not exist in a bubble, there are a million other factors out there that can affect the color, smell and consistency of your urine.
  2. Yes diuretics and other popular drinks (soft drinks, cola, sports drinks, tea, coffee, etc) can and will give you the clear urine, but you may not be hydrated. So don’t expect to drink coffee, or tea and be hydrated. Some drinks like coffee and tea act like a diuretic and can inhibit a hormone in your body, therefore causing you to urinate more and more often.
  3. Just as what you drink affects your hydration, so do the foods you eat. Just imagine the amount of sodium content in a can of processed food.
  4. Yep your physical activity plays a HUGE role in your hydration, as well as how much you sweat. Everybody sweats differently. (I sweat standing in 30 degree weather and my wife doesn’t ever perspire until it’s almost 100!)
  5. Drinking more water will definitely make you pee more!!!! But trust me, barring you don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions, your  body will adapt and you won’t urinate quite as often.

This is great for determining your level of hydration as well as monitoring if your ‘becoming’ hydrated. Is all that water helping you hydrate? It also lets you know just  how dehydrated you really were.

So, how hydrated are you?


I guarantee you’ll never visit the restroom the same again. Isn’t nursing fun!?

How do I know I’m hydrated? Originally posted on My Strong Medicine

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2 Responses to Stay hydrated and stay healthy

  1. shelly

    One question… If I drink more water would I sweat less? I Sweat if the room is a tad above 65… And working in the ER I run around a ton.. I hate being sweaty but I dont want my pt to be cold… What should I do??

  2. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @shelly Drinking more water won’t stop or slow down your sweating. The two aren’t a cause and an effect. In fact the less water you drink the less I think you’d sweat – which is a bad thing. Not sweating leads to heat emergencies.
    My suggestion would be to increase your water intake and purchase an undershirt that has the wicking effect. There are a ton of them out there – I particularly like the product that starts with the letter ‘U’.
    Best of luck.

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