Summer is in full swing in Southern Utah. Look anywhere, and you’ll see both residents and visitors alike enjoying this summer heat. Whether it’s trips to the lake, summer camps, or even neighborhood barbeque, the people of Southern Utah are out hustling and bustling. With this increased activity comes the age old summer “disease”, and no, we’re not talking about COVID. Rather, this dangerous condition is dehydration, an issue that causes over seventy three thousand hospitalizations a year. Dehydration is a serious issue to be mindful of, especially when plan trips and hikes to Zion National Park. With simple planning and helpful suggestions, both casual visitors and extreme hikers can enjoy the beauty that Zion National Park has to offer, worry free of negative health consequences that can arise from dehydration.
Tips On How To Stay Hydrated
The first, and perhaps the most important, tip is to bring your own water bottle. Whether this is in the form of a backpack with a bladder or just a good old plastic bottle. Zion National Park does not sell plastic water bottles in the park. Currently there are 5 fill up stations. These are located at the Visitor Center, Zion Human History Museum, Zion Lodge, The Grotto, and Temple of Sinawava.
One of the more common mistakes that’s made is people tend to underestimate how much water they truly need. In just normal, everyday settings, it’s recommended in a recent study by Harvard Medical school, that most adults drink about 11 cups of water a day. This can be hard to meet on a normal day, let alone on a hike. But luckily, there are easy ways to meet this goal while hiking.
Have water on hand: This sounds like something that everyone would know, but you need to have water on you when you’re hiking. There are a limited number of water stations in the park, so if you are planning on going on a longer hike, make sure to fill up beforehand.Being dehydrated on a long hike can be dangerous and it puts the hiker in danger.
Drink Often: Having water with you is of no use if you don’t drink it! Make sure to take frequent, small sips of water as you make your way through the park. This is more beneficial than taking big gulps of water at random intervals.
Protect Yourself from the Sun: Heat exhaustion and sunburns can contribute to dehydration. Make sure to use sunscreen and wear loose clothing that will shield your body from the sun. This will not only help prevent dehydration, but also help protect from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and sunburns.
Importance of Staying Hydrated
Roughly 60% of the human body is made up of water. Staying well hydrated is one of the keys to staying healthy and helping the body function. There’s been many studies that show and document why hydration is so crucial. Being well hydrated has been linked to better regulation of body temperature, joint function, and even better quality of sleep. These are just a few of the many benefits that come from staying hydrated every day. When hiking, the dangers of dehydration go hand in hand with heat exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion is a very serious condition that is caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Some of the symptoms include heavy sweating, fainting, dizziness, and nausea. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke which is a life threatening condition. This is why hydration and drinking water is so important. It helps protect and keep hikers safe while hiking.