Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?

Health and Wellness Associates

Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?

Remembering to drink enough water is easy during the summer, when higher temperatures and outdoor activities drive the point home. But staying adequately hydrated is just as important during the winter.

Environmental humidity plays a role, said Stavros Kavouras, who directs the Hydration Science Lab at Arizona State University in Phoenix. Central heating causes drier interior environments during the winter, which can lead to increased water loss simply from breathing.

That’s not the only challenge. In cold environments, the kidneys actually excrete more urine, said Joseph C. Watso, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas.

“It’s a small change that could potentially make a difference,” he said. “If you’re not sweating, you might forget to drink adequate water.”

Dehydration sets in when the body loses more water than it takes in.

Even minor dehydration – the level at which people begin feel thirsty – is linked to difficulty concentrating, poor memory and bad moods. And studies have shown people who chronically consume a low amount of water seem to be at higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and urinary tract infections. “High urine flow seems to be protective,” Kavouras said.

News Picture: AHA News: Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?  Kavouras and his colleagues found mild dehydration impaired the function of cells that line blood vessels almost as much as smoking a cigarette. Dehydration also has been linked with inflammation, artery stiffness, blood pressure regulation and other factors that can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Research also has linked poor hydration to diabetes. “Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that’s associated with what we eat, what we drink and how physically active we are,” Kavouras said. “Hydration seems to be part of this recipe.”

Exactly how much water people need can vary.

“Our water needs change from day to day based on factors such as environmental temperature and activity level,” Kavouras said. “If you are an Ironman athlete who trains four hours per day, your water needs are higher than somebody who is sedentary.”

In general, the federal Institute of Medicine suggests women take in 2.7 liters and men 3.7 liters of water per day. That might sound like a lot, but because food contributes about 20% of the daily water total, women should drink 8, 8-ounce glasses and men 12, 8-ounce glasses.

“It’s underappreciated that many fruits and vegetables are 90 to 95% water,” Watso said. “Eating more fruits and vegetables can certainly help you stay hydrated.” Soup, an old winter standby, also counts. “Just be sure to avoid soups with very high amounts of sodium.”

Watso recommends people keep a refillable water bottle with them and sip on it all day. “Your body can only process water at a certain rate, and if you drink too much too (quickly), the excess will be excreted,” he said.

Experts say fluid from tea and coffee – even that eggnog latte – counts toward hydration. Even soda and juices technically contribute to one’s daily fluid intake, although experts do not recommend them because of their high sugar content. Alcohol, however, doesn’t make the cut.

Kavouras advised people to pay attention to how often they use the bathroom. Adults should urinate six or seven times per day. Dark yellow or orangish urine is a sign to drink up.

“Drinking water throughout the day is one of the most effective things you can do to improve health and well-being.”

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Contagious?

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS – Telehealth

 

Is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Contagious?

UTI

 

The answer depends upon what microbe is infecting the urinary tract. The urinary tract consists of the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys, each of which can become infected with different microbes. Urinary tract infections usually arise from organisms that are normally present in (colonizing) the person’s gut and/or urethral opening. These organisms (for example, bacteria such as E. coli or Pseudomonas infect the urinary tract by relocating against the flow of urine (retrograde) toward the kidneys.

Lower urinary tract infections do not involve the kidneys while upper urinary tract infections involve the kidneys and are typically more severe. These types of infections of the urinary tract are almost never contagious to other individuals. This article will not consider STDs and the organisms that cause STDs as urinary tract infections as they are discussed in other articles. However, STDs are often contagious and are transferred to others during intercourse, while UTIs are not usually transmitted by intercourse, so UTIs are rarely contagious to a partner. In addition, women who are sexually active and those individuals (males and females) who have anal intercourse have an increased chance to develop a UTI.

It is unlikely for anyone to get a UTI or STD from a toilet seat, as the urethra in males and females typically wouldn’t touch the toilet seat. It is theoretically possible to transfer infectious organisms from a toilet seat to a buttock or thigh cut or sore and then have the organisms spread to the urethra or genitals. Nevertheless, such transmission of UTIs and/or STDs are highly unlikely.

How long before I know I have an infection of the urinary tract?

The incubation period (time of exposure to time symptoms begin) varies with the microbe. In general, common urinary tract infections with colonizing bacteria, like E. coli, varies from about three to eight days.

How are urinary tract infections spread?

Bacterial infections of the urinary tract are almost never spread to others if the infecting organisms originate from the bacteria normally colonizing the individual (for example, E. coli).

 

When should I seek medical care for a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

 

For symptoms of itching and/or burning on urination or discomfort with urination, people should seek help within 24 hours. Individuals who may develop an upper urinary tract infection (kidney involvement with flank pain, for example) should seek medical help immediately.

When are urinary tract infections no longer contagious?

Simple lower and upper urinary tract infections caused by bacteria residing in the patient are not considered to be contagious. Clinicians suggest people are cleared of lower urinary tract infections after about three to seven days of antibiotic treatment and upper urinary tract (kidneys) infections by about 10-14 days after treatment. Some individuals with kidney infection may benefit from an initial IV dose of antibiotics followed by oral antibiotics.

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