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Hydration, sanitation become more critical in a heat wave

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Water is your best friend in a heat wave. Photo: Getty

Beer and soda is refreshing, but drinking water is unbeatable in the heat, said Abelardo Ávila, a researcher at the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition (INCMNSZ).

Staying hydrated is critical when temperatures rise. The heat also brings an increase in foodborne illnesses.

The public should be particularly aware of kitchen sanitation both at home and when considering indulging in street food where preventing contamination is a bigger challenge.

Mexico’s National Meteorological Service reported recent temperatures of 45 to 50 Celcius in Sonora, Sinaloa, Michoacan, Guerrero, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Hidalgo. Baja California Sur, Nayarit, Jalisco, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas and Veracruz have recently hit 40C to 45C while areas of Colima, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Querétaro, State of Mexico, Puebla, Morelos, Tabasco, Campeche and Yucatan reached as high as 40C.

To avoid dehydration, citizens often consume beer, soda, electrolytes, energy drinks, mineral water, fruit water and drinking water.

Taking energy drinks or electrolyte drinks like Gatorade is no better than drinking pure water, although the former is recommended when fighting a gastrointestinal infection.

“Drinking these products is not better than water. The difference is when they have a therapeutic use, when dehydration is established by gastrointestinal infection,” said the expert.

Ávila commented that it is normal for people to drink beer “for taste rather than to hydrate,” but beer is actually a diuretic, meaning it causes people to go to the bathroom more. Urination contributes to dehydration.

In the case of soft drinks something similar happens. A cold soda is refreshing, but its sugar content is very high. “Taking two or three soft drinks a day to appease the heat will not do us any good, because we are abusing the sugar and we will not stay hydrated,” said Ávila.

Fruit waters are OK as long as they are not abused and the fruit hasn’t spoiled in the heat.

Bacteria and fungi thrive when food is not refrigerated.

“In days like today, 30 degrees, in a matter of 20 or 30 minutes, bacteria can grow in food that is contaminated, so you have to be careful in the hygiene of food and not consume those that are more prone to decomposition,” said Ávila.

Source: El Universal

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