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By Amina Abdul Salam

In the summer, during the hot weather, the human body loses a large amount of fluids through sweating which is a natural process that allows the body regulate its inner temperature and maintain the natural average of 37 degrees centigrade. Otherwise there is a danger of suffering from dehydration and fatigue.

Dr Magdy Badran PhD, Paediatric Immunologist Fellow at the Faculty of Graduate Studies for Childhood, urges people to make sure to drink fluids all day, whether they are thirsty or not, to stay hydrated.

He adds that if we become dehydrated, we will not be able to sweat, and we will be at risk of suffering from heat stroke or heat exhaustion. The symptoms of heat stroke are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps and aches, and dizziness.

However, some individuals can develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly and rapidly without warning. Dr Badran says that dehydration can cause loss of energy, fuzzy thinking, brain fog, slower metabolism, reduced cognitive function, headaches and fatigue.

Dehydration causes excessive mucus to build up, and mucus triggers coughing or makes breathing more difficult. When the body is dehydrated, histamine is released and this increases the allergic response, lowers immunity, and increases bronchial constriction in asthma sufferers. Dr Badran recommends eating fresh vegetables and fruit to keep hydrated.

During the summer season, he says men should drink three litres of fluids per day, women should drink 2.2 litres and children aged 4 to 8 should drink 1.7 litres. Pregnant women are advised to drink 2.3 litres of fluids a day and women who breast-feed should drink 3.1 litres.