Even though you can’t see them, they also need to be taken care of.
Your kidneys need liquid in order to function properly and we are all guilty of not taking in enough of those essential fluids. Whether it is because you are too busy, or you just don’t realise that you actually haven’t been thirsty all day.
Salt is expelled from the body in two major ways; through the skin, and via the tubules in the kidneys. In summer, sweat production occurs at a higher rate and therefore salt is expelled via the skin. This is no way means that the kidneys have less work to do, or that they need less fluid. In summer, you actually need to consume more fluid, as more fluid also tends to be used by other essential organs for thermo-regulation and other processes. Also, due to the skin excreting more sweat, there is less fluid available for the kidneys to use, as salt excretion in not the only function that the kidneys have to perform.
As paramedics, working on the road is not always the most optimal place to be able to control hydration and nutrition, as there are those days where it is so busy that you don’t even have a chance to break to eat and drink. You grab a bottle of coke here and a quick bite to eat there. But it is absolutely essential that more of an effort is made to ensure proper hydration, especially as the summer months are approaching and it looks like it is going to be a hot one!
We have all experienced those days in summer where you are working on patients at a two hour extrication, and all you can think about is how hot it is and how thirsty you are. Your lips start sticking together and your mouth feels like glue. If the outer parts of your body are feeling like that, imagine how your kidneys and other organs feel!
A good practice is to keep a water bottle near at all times, it is quicker to fill a water bottle than it is to run into a shop to buy something to drink, and it is healthier and a cheaper option too.
Keep yourself well hydrated this summer, and convince your co workers to do the same, your kidneys will love you for it.