While the current cold weather seems wont to extend its icy hold over the UK our instinct may be to hydrate less, this is a mistake.

When it’s cold, we may tend to think that we dehydrate less easily than we do when it’s warm, but this is often not the case. *What occurs is the body’s thirst response diminishes – as much as by forty percent, even when we’re already dehydrated. This happens due to the body’s blood vessels constricting when cold in order to prevent blood from flowing freely to the extremities. This enables the body to conserve heat by drawing more blood to its core.  Because of this, the body is fooled into thinking it has properly hydrated, e.g. you don’t feel as thirsty and your body doesn’t conserve water. What may also occur is as you are less inclined to drink more water voluntarily; your kidneys don’t receive the signal to conserve water and urine production increases, again potentially leading to dehydration.

This increased urine production and reduced thirst response are only two of the contributing factors.  Some others include:

  • When wearing multiple, heavy layers of clothing, our bodies have to work between ten and forty percent harder. As such, we sweat more and lose more fluid.
  • We also experience increased respiratory loss. This is when you lose water vapour through your breath, which means there is an increase of fluid leaving your body.
  • The fact that sweat evaporates more quickly in cooler temperatures means your body is, once again, fooled into thinking you need less fluid.

The simplest method to counteract cold weather dehydration is to keep an eye on how often you drink water, similar to how you would during warmer weather. If you usually make regular trips to replenish your water container from the work water cooler, carry on doing so. Should you work from a home office or remote location, set a repeat alarm on any tech gadget you use. If chilled water is too much to consider drinking, drink ambient (indoor) temperature water. If you can only consider drinking piping hot water drinks, that’s fine, however, try to balance out each hot drink with a drink of cool water and keep yourself healthy and hydrated come rain, snow or ice.

*source: First Aid For Life