Writing in the spring 2000 issue of the FAA’s Federal Air Surgeon’s Medical Bulletin, Rogers Shaw, team coordinator of the FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute’s aeromedical education division’s airman education program, offered these tips for heading off the dangers of dehydration:
• Drink cool (40 deg F) water (forget the old theory that lukewarm water is absorbed more quickly into the system).
• Drink out of a container that allows you to measure daily water intake.
• Don’t rely on the thirst sensation as an alarm...stay ahead. If plain water is offensive, add some sport-drink flavoring to make it more acceptable.
• Limit your daily intake of caffeine and alcohol (both are diuretics and stimulate increased production of urine).
• Exercise can cause a large amount of body fluid loss that is difficult to replace quickly.
• Acclimation to a major change in weather takes up to two weeks.
• Monitor personal effects of aging, recent illness, fever, diarrhea or vomiting.
• Monitor your work and recreational activity; if you feel light-headed or dizzy, call it a day.