Edit 8/23/2015: well after a long shortage Alcacer Corp has Electro Mix back in production The links below are now functional and the product is in stock at Amazon
When working a local CERT Field Training event last weekend in Chandler Arizona the temperatures were hovering around 95 degrees with full sun. Add to that the relative humidity being around 5% and walking on black asphalt all day you might see how any outdoor activity can have an effect on your body/health in quick order.
Now in AZ 95 degrees means we don’t need a jacket(kidding), but with the humidity that low, when you sweat it evaporates quickly, helping to cool you somewhat. That quick evaporation can also be an issue as you will lose fluid through sweating but not be soaking wet, kind of fooling you into a false sense of “hey this is not bad who needs to drink water”.
Drinking water is most times enough, but in extreme cases of dehydration too much water can kill you. Many people have died hiking in the Grand Canyon from “dehydration related causes” even though they had plenty of water. ( The National Park Service even warns about that on the Grand Canyon Page) How might that happen? HYPONATREMIA (water intoxication)
Just drinking water is not enough, proper nutrition and most of all proper balance/restoration of the bodies electrolyte balance is a must. Drinking too much water without electrolytes included can cause the sodium in the cells to become diluted, disrupting the proper function in the cells/body.
The symptoms can mimic heat stroke and are:
Nausea and vomiting
Loss of energy and fatigue
Restlessness and irritability
Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
Other factors can complicate matters even more like medications you take, age and preexisting conditions. You can read more about these on the Mayo Clinic Website
So as an almost lifelong Arizona Resident I have made almost every dumb mistake you can in the outdoors and survived. I have learned a lot in my 55 years here and with modern technology and sports/health care products/supplements I am able to guard against being dumb and dead.
Two years ago this summer while working for BRP in the Specialized Vehicle Group(Military, Gov and Law Enforcement Biz Dev) I had the “pleasure” breaking in two military/LEO Side by Side vehicles in August when the temperatures were 119 degrees F for two days.
Vehicle break in takes about 10 hours on a “zero time engine”. That meant about 6 hours of running through the Sonoran Desert on the hottest day of the year. The trick I learned to keep functioning in this austere environment is not only hydration but electrolytes!!
Many people first think of Gatorade, which is OK but the sugars/artificial sweeteners, and the ever present artificial colors/chemicals that have been band in other countries.
There is, in my opinion a better alternative that is cheaper, easy to add to “normal” tap, bottled or Hydration Systems. It is called Emergen-C Electro Mix. It has the following electrolytes: contains nutritionally balanced essential electrolytes: Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, plus Chromium* and has a natural lemon-lime flavor. With a box of 30 costing less than $10 and free shipping if you have Amazon Prime that comes to 31 cents a pack.
You can’t beat the price and let me tell you it is the best and cheapest way to maintain your electrolyte balance during strenuous activities. Just add water. Or if you wish, I also add one of the Emergen-C other products that give it more flavor. I use Emergen-C® 1,000 mg Vitamin C Super Orange mix.
So back to the CERT event last weekend: My hydration systems back pack with the 100 ounce bladder had water with ice cubes and 2 packs of the Emergen-C Electro Mix and one pack of the Emergen-C Super Orange and I was good to go.
The others members of the CERT Commo Team were walking and handing out flyers had to call back to NCO(Net Control Operator) for someone to them bring extra water. It seems they drank more of their water than planned due to the fact it was plain water.
So even on a simple emergency communications deployment in mild weather, you can get in a bind in a hurry without proper planning. Part of that plan every time should be proper hydration.