Hot weather in Malaysia? Nothing new, lah! But you’re not imagining things if you feel the weather has been getting hotter lately. A study from Think City reports that the surface temperature of several cities in Malaysia has increased in the last few decades. The same study also shows the highest surface temperature increase in Johor Bahru – 6.75°C between 2005 and 2018. With the hot weather, staying hydrated during the day is important. However, it can slip right out of your mind, especially when you’re too busy doing other things.
Most Malaysians are used to the hot weather.
You may not notice it when your body starts to overheat and dehydrate. Regardless, you can still enjoy a fun (and productive) day in the sun. Let’s explore more signs of dehydration and tips to stay hydrated.
Causes of Dehydration
According to the National Health Service (NHS) UK, dehydration can happen more quickly if you have diabetes, vomiting or diarrhoea. If you have been in the sun too long, you can get dehydrated and have a heatstroke. Drinking too much alcohol and sweating too much after exercising can also lead to dehydration. Moreover, taking medicines that make you pee more (diuretics) and having a high temperature of 38°C or more can also result in dehydration.
It is important to note that babies, children, and the elderly are more prone to dehydration. So, keep an eye on your loved ones and make sure they are hydrating regularly.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Common symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include:
- Dry mouth/tongue
- Dry skin
- Dark yellow urine
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of focus
People with severe dehydration have been known to have sunken eyes, lack of tears, sunken fontanels (specifically among infants), irritability, rapid breathing, hypotension and tachycardia. In the worst-case scenario, severe dehydration can lead to unconsciousness.
Best Ways to Stay Hydrated
Ready to go out and enjoy your day in the sun? Follow these tips to help you stay focused and comfortable without getting bothered by the scorching heat.
1. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water
How should you stay hydrated? Make it a habit to drink water regularly, eight glasses of water a day, throughout the day. Target to finish a certain amount of water by the end of each day. If you are unsure what the
2. Don’t like the taste of water? Add some natural flavour
If you don’t like the bland taste of plain water, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to savour it. Drop a few slices of lemon into your glass or water bottle, and your drink will be infused with a fragrant citrus flavour.
You can also stay hydrated by drinking fruit and vegetable juices, unsweetened drinks and diet sodas, but be mindful of the sugar content. Read the carton or bottle labels to monitor the amount of sugar you consume.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables
You can also load up on more fruits and vegetables to ensure you stay hydrated. Some fruits and vegetables have higher water content than others.
According to a 2017 paper, Storage Methods for Fruits and Vegetables, fruits with higher water content are apple
4. Stay indoors when it is very hot
Based on Johns Hopkins Medicine, if an individual is overexposed to the sun and doesn’t drink enough water, the body loses water content and essential body salts, such as sodium and potassium. In severe cases, you can suffer from heatstroke.
Essentially, when you sweat, you lose water so it would help if you drink fluids to rehydrate. Avoid coffee, soda, caffeinated tea and alcohol, as these can cause dehydration.
5. Wear a light layer of clothing
Shouldn’t you be wearing fewer items of clothing when it’s hot? While it can help your body lose excess heat naturally, it’s best to wear something more protective. Instead, opt for a light-coloured, loose layer of clothing that doesn’t restrict airflow. Doing this will also protect your skin from burning.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Another pro tip: choose items made from cotton, linen, rayon, or bamboo with moisture-wicking technology.
What Should You Do
When the Heat is Too Much?
If you start to feel unwell even after doing the abovementioned tips, immediately seek medical treatment.
Though treating the early onset of dehydration at home is possible, it should be under a healthcare provider’s guidance. Here are the treatment recommendations:
- In children, directions for giving food and fluids will be customised according to the dehydration cause, so it is essential to consult your child’s healthcare provider.
- In mild dehydration, simple rehydration by drinking fluids is recommended. Many sports drinks on the market can restore body fluid level, electrolytes and salt balance.
- In moderate dehydration, it may be necessary to provide intravenous (IV) fluids. Please consult a medical professional for guidance and treatment if you have dehydration symptoms.
- Cases of severe dehydration are regarded as medical emergencies. Immediate action must be taken, including hospitalisation and administering IV fluids.
Some TCM herbal formulations that help are Sheng Mai Yin (生脉饮) to regenerate
With the heat waves these days, it is time to develop the habit of drinking fluids regularly to stay hydrated. If you are going out, take a bottle of water with you to ensure you fulfil your daily water requirements.
- BMC Public Health. 2018. Public knowledge of dehydration and fluid intake practices: variation by participants’ characteristics. [Accessed on 24 June 2022]
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. N.d. Dehydration and Heatstroke. [Accessed on 24 June 2022]
- Khan, Dr & Bhat, Sajad & Narayan, Sarath. 2017. Storage Methods for Fruits and Vegetables. [Accessed on 24 June 2022]
- National Health Service (NHS) UK. Dehydration. [Accessed on 24 June 2022]
- NPR. 2012. Summer Science: Clothes Keep You Cool, More Or Less. [online] Available at <> [Accessed on 30 June 2022]
- New Straits Time. 2021. Malaysian cities are getting hotter: Study. [Accessed on 30 June 2022]
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