Q: Our children all attend sports camps over the summer. I usually send water in a thermos with them but worry about their hydration. How do I know if they are drinking enough? Are sports drinks a better option?
Hydration is always important, particularly as summer temperatures climb. How much water is enough varies by age, weight and activity level, so it’s important to know how to monitor hydration levels and use these as guidelines.
Urine color and volume is an excellent gauge for hydration status. When a person is well-hydrated, urine is clear to light yellow and urine volumes are high. Low urine volumes and dark yellow urine indicate poor hydration.
Other early signs of dehydration include thirst and fatigue.
For children and teens, offer frequent water breaks and easy access to fluids. During times of intense exercise, young athletes should replace fluids every 15-30 minutes.
Water is the best option for rehydration during the first 60 minutes of exercise. After that, sports drinks play a role in fluid and electrolyte replacement and should be offered as an alternative to water.
Rhonda Patt is a pediatrician with Charlotte Pediatric Clinic. Email email@example.com; put “pediatrician,” in the subject line.
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