Wellness Wednesday: Summer Safety Kit

Here is a convenient comprehensive kit to keep you safe this summer. It recaps some posts from the recent and more distant past, all in one convenient place and on the theme of having a safe and happy summer. 

Reclaim your Summer

This deals with the importance of time off and the concept of summer vacation for adults. 

Weathering the Heat

Contains some amazing facts and figures about heat stroke.

Five Steps to Mosquito Protection

This is especially important to review in this season of the Zika Virus.

Wellness While Gardening

Tells of the little known perils of playing in the dirt. 

Hydration 101

This critical post has concrete information to help you stay out of trouble this summer. 


Stay tuned for next week on Wellness Wednesday, when we will talk about the Summer of the Mind.  

Wellness Wednesday: Hydration 101 

Summer has finally arrived in the northern hemisphere.

Our part of the planet is pointed much more directly at the sun and you can feel it. Sun protection and hydration become critical. Last Wednesday we covered mosquito protection and this week we will recap hydration. 

A July post from last year has some facts that bear repeating: 

  • 2 Liters = the amount of fluid a non pregnant woman needs per day
  • 3 Liters= the amount of fluid a pregnant woman needs per day
  • Add 1 Liter for temps over 85 degrees
  • Add 1 more Liter for activity like hiking. 

So… the fluid requirement for a pregnant woman hiking on a hot day is 5 Liters !!! 


Watermelon juice.jpg

And to recap…


Consider a woman weighing 154#=70kg

  • 60% of the body=water =42 kg or 4.2 Liters for our 70 kg woman
  • 1% loss of fluid = 42 ml impairs thermoregulation and causes thirst. 
  • 2% loss of fluid - discomfort and loss of appetite 
  • 3% loss of fluid - dry mouth appear
  • 4% loss of fluid- work capacity decreased 
  • 5% loss of fluid- reduced concentration, headache, and sleeping 
  • 6% loss of fluid-tingling and numbness of extremities 
  • 7% loss of fluid-collapse 

Taken from the World Health Association (WHO) website 


Hydration does a number of great things

Firstly, it protects you from harms: 

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Kidney Stones 
  • Preterm labor 
  • Headache 
  • Helps prevent heat stroke 

see Weathering the Heat 

Finally, hydration makes you feel good and look good. 


It’s fun to get creative with your healthy drinks.

Break out of the old routine of sodas and beer which do nothing but dehydrate and put fat on the belly. 

Try these instead : 

  • Plain Club Soda with a little splash of 100% fruit juice and twists of citrus 
  • Mocktails like a Virgin Mary or a not so sweet Virgin Daquiri
  • Herbal iced tea or Sun tea, sweetened with a little fruit juice 
  • Healthier frappes made with ice, one pump of chocolate, and your milk of choice 
  • Green smoothies 

Drinking a tall cold glass of something healthy and fun is good for you both physically and mentally. It gives you a little creative outlet, and a chance to sit down and take a micro break. 

Be sure to catch all of our blog posts at 


Food Friday: Food for Healing

As most of you know, we spent the better part of the week nursing our 22 year old son after his ski accident. He sustained a badly fractured femur requiring a long surgery which entailed significant blood loss. He also had a mild concussion, pulmonary contusion, and a broken rib. He is stable and improving. But his course has illustrated several important things about nourishing those who are recovering from illness or injury. I thought we might take a moment and discuss them here, especially since it has been on my mind. 

When people come home from the hospital, most of time, their IV is removed. They will come home adequately hydrated. However, that can quickly change, since their capability to hold down food and drink is often limited. Your job as caregiver is to help minimize nausea which may be interfering with hydration, and to provide appropriate enticing liquids for them to sip. If your “ patient” did not come home with anti-nausea medication, and needs it, do not hesitate to call their doctor. Most of the time this can be prescribed over the phone, but sometimes, nausea heralds a concern, and the patient will be asked to come in for an evaluation. 

Another way to minimize nausea and maximize intake is to avoid overuse of narcotic pain pills. The most common are lortab and percocet, aka hydrocodone and oxycodone. These are necessary with early post ops, but they can cause nausea and constipation. Ask your doctor how they should be used if you are not sure. 

Sick or injured people do not always know what they need. It is up to the caregiver to encourage them in the right direction. In this regard, many patients will not want to drink as much as they ought. So you have to be clever. 

Hydration of the unwell is best accomplished gradually and continually. This way they are more apt to tolerate it. It is also best accomplished by fluids which contain some sugar and some electrolyte (like IV fluid!) . 

For starters, let’s do water. Some who cannot drink water can drink soda water, aka plain club soda. Even more can drink this with a splash of fruit juice or a wedge of lemon or lime. Some do well with dilute fruit juice. Decaf instant iced tea works well. Oftentimes having it quite cold will help, but this is suboptimal if your patient is chilled. Some do better with frozen cubes of the aforementioned drinks. 

On the other hand, many patients prefer hot drinks. Herbal tea is the go-to here. You can make it more appealing by adding honey or agave, and a little lemon. Decaf coffee is not a bad choice, but lots of caffeinated coffee is dehydrating. 

Some patients prefer savory or salty drinks. This is an advantage since it will better expand their intravascular volume. Here broth is the best solution, unless they can take something like Bloody Mary mix, or salted tomato juice. The best of all is a brothy chicken soup, just like tradition teaches us. Nowadays organic broth mix is widely available commercially in chicken, beef, and vegetable flavors. 

You can also hydrate your patient with watermelon if they like it. Most fruits will help, and a smoothie of fruit, ice, water, juice, and even plain yogurt can be very agreeable, even to one who is sick. 

When patients are doing well enough to take solid food, there are a few key nutritional points to bear in mind. Healing from illness and injury takes more resources than ordinary life - lots more resources. A man needing 70 g of protein a day will come to need over a hundred. He will need more nutrients too, though he may not necessarily need more calories. Therefore, everything a recovering person eats should be nutrient rich. Leave the top ramen, Pepsi, and white bread for another day - like NEVER. Present choices such as chicken, salmon and red meat, but prepare them in a way that is easy to eat. For the meat and chicken, cook it well, ground or in small pieces. For salmon, consider getting canned salmon and making it up like tuna fish salad with mayonnaise, relish and olives. But beware, if your patients are picking at their food or dairy containing drinks, the dishes cannot stay out too long, or they will spoil. The last thing you need is a recovering patient with food poisoning. With the same goal in mind, don’t put too much on a serving plate. Start with a small serving and get seconds if you need to. And, for best results, offer small quantities of food quite often. 

Caregiving is hard work. With a little forethought and a few tricks of the trade, your well hydrated, well nourished patient will have the best chance at an optimal recovery. 

Food Friday: Drink !

I am absolutely compelled to write again about hydration in this, our week of three digit temperatures. I had one reasonable and well intentioned patient who came in with symptoms and was FIVE LITERS short on her hydration ! 

Let us review. Normally, a non pregnant woman needs 2 liters of fluid per day. A pregnant woman needs three. Add another liter for temperatures over 85 degrees, and yet another liter for activity such as hiking. So if you are pregnant and hiking on a hot day, your fluid requirement is easily 5 liters, and that is assuming you are coming to the day adequately hydrated in the first place. 

The human body is about 60 % water. Let's say you weigh 154#. That means you weigh 70 kg. That means you contain 42 kg of liquid or 4.2 liters. Getting short on fluid percentage wise is easier than you think. 

How can you lose so much fluid ? Well there are the obvious ways, but then there is also respiration, sweat, and something short of sweat which is still fluid loss through your skin called insensible loss. It all adds up. Heat and activity increase insensible losses like crazy. 

Here is the interesting stuff: 

" ...fluid loss of 1% impairs thermoregulation (the ability to regulate your temperature), and thirst occurs at this level of dehydration......Vague discomfort and lack of appetite appear at 2 % . Dry mouth appears at 3%. At 4% work capacity is decreased. Difficulty concentrating, headache, and sleepiness are observed at 5%. Tingling and numbness of extremities can be seen at 6%, and collapse can occur at 7% dehydration. " ( reference from the World Health organization

Here is the fun stuff: 

Summer is a great time for cold drinks. Try to take the traditional summer cooler and put a healthy spin on it. Here are some examples that will provide you with much needed electrolytes as well as fluid and taste. 

  • Club soda with a splash of 100% fruit juice. 
  • Mocktails like Virgin Mary, Virgin Daquiris
  • Herbal iced tea or sun tea on ice with lemon and mint leaves, sweetened with a little fruit juice 
  • Healthy fruit frappes made with fresh fruit, ice, and plain yogurt or kefir. 
  • Decaf mocha frappes made with ice, one pump of chocolate, and your milk of choice. 
  • Stay hydrated and enjoy ! 

For more information see : 

Drinks in Nutrition 

Weathering the Heat