Air Travel and Hydration
Water—simple and pure; it is a key nutrient that is often taken for granted. Airline travel creates an increased need for adequate hydration. The saavy traveler is mindful of their body’s water requirements, as the travel environment contributes to significant water losses. Not only are travelers experiencing physiological changes related to an increase in altitude, they are also exposed to low moisture levels. Aircraft cabin humidity levels are unnaturally low, from 5-10%, creating an environment with less humidity than the Sahara Desert!
Dehydration often exaggerates jetlag. Symptoms of dehydration may include dry chapped skin, increased wrinkles, dry eyes, thirst, tiredness, low urine output, dry mouth, headache, constipation, dizziness or lightheadedness. Severe dehydration may result in low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, extreme thirst, dry skin, loss of skin elasticity, little or no urination, confusion, and fever.
Research has shown that adequate water intake may prevent heart attacks. One study found that individuals who drank five or more glasses of plain water a day had a much lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease compared to those who drank less than two glasses a day. The results of the study showed that drinking high amounts of plain water is as important as exercise, diet, and not smoking in preventing coronary heart disease. It is noted that neither total fluid intake, or intake of other fluids combined, showed this reduced risk. In contrast, for women, high intake (five or more glasses a day) of other fluids, showed a greatly increased risk of coronary heart disease. “Water, Other Fluids and Fatal Coronary Heart Disease”. American Journal of Epidemiology (vol. 155, no.9).
So, how do you keep yourself hydrated when you travel? Here are a few steps you can take to increase your water consumption on a daily basis that will keep you healthy, for home or travel.
How much water is enough? On average, adults need at least 6-10 cups (8 oz cups) of water a day. Another way to tell if you are drinking enough is to note the color of your urine output. If it is clear or slightly yellow, it means you are well hydrated (credit michael). (Please note: due to certain medical conditions there are some individuals who are not able to tolerate the above mentioned level of water intake. Please consult your physician for specific questions regarding your personal health needs).
To find out how much you need to drink, check out the online Water Requirement Calculator.
Enjoy healthy and hydrated travels!
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