Chapped lips are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fluid loss during colder weather. Though you may not notice fluid loss (like sweating in summer), staying hydrated through winter can be challenging as the environment poses an increased risk of dehydration due to:
- Respiratory fluid losses from dry, cold air
- Increased urine frequency (cold-induced diuresis)
- Reduced fluid consumption (reduced thirst signals)
- Cold-weather clothing (sweating due to additional layers)
Dehydration can occur with as little as 2% loss of body weight in fluid. To prevent dehydration during winter, you should be aware of common signs of dehydration and fluid loss including:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced urine frequency
- Dark yellow coloured urine
Individuals who are at the greatest risk of dehydration in winter include the elderly, athletes exercising outdoors and individuals with chronic conditions including diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
What can you do to stay on top of your hydration?
- Monitor your fluid intake: Keep a bottle or glass of water somewhere visible and accessible. Consider setting reminders on your phone to get up and refill your water bottle.
- Be mindful of fluid losses: If you are exercising, over-dressed for the weather or sick, you may be losing more fluids than you are expecting due to sweating, vomiting or loose stools. Keep an eye on any changes to your urine frequency, volume and colour.
- Consume plenty of fluids: Water (flavoured, sparkling, hot or cold), herbal teas, soups, broths, diet cordials. Electrolyte drinks may be advisable to assist with replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes if you are exercising outdoors or unwell.
For more information about hydration and water you can visit https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/nutrient-reference-values/nutrients/water
For individualised advice about your fluid requirements and hydration strategies tailored to your preferences, book in with our dietitian.
Article written by Dietician, Kristin Maggacis.