This is why it is important that troops stay hydrated during the coldest months

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andrew Smith)

During the coldest months of the year, humidity tends to be lower than usual, leading to dry air. Normally, people from cold regions use home heating systems to warm themselves indoors, making the air drier. The air conditions both indoors and outdoors can influence our hydration status, so it is crucial to be properly hydrated during winter. Naturally, humans drink less water when it is cold for various reasons, but experts suggest that our bodies need more water during colder seasons. On average, an adult requires six-eight glasses of water every day to keep the body function in place.

Most people only associate dehydration with hot and humid climates forgetting that winter dehydration affects many people. This is why more Marines per capita fall victim to the Silver Bullet during cold weather field ops. Keeping the body hydrated in the summer is simpler than during colder seasons because humans naturally get less thirsty during winter hence drink fewer fluids. However, it should be noted that being less thirsty does not imply that your body does not require water. We are less thirsty in the winter because we sweat less but regardless, our bodies still lose moisture thanks to perspiration, respiration and urination. Since we feel less thirsty during colder seasons, it is only wise to manage our water consumption to avoid severe dehydration cases purposefully. A trick I used was to drink a little more water before going to sleep and reveille.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña, Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson Public Affairs)

Staying hydrated during fall and winter is important because it lessens fatigue and promotes complacency. When the body is fully hydrated, our bodies become more active, promoting productivity in your day. Whether an adult or a child, you need your productivity levels to be high because of school or work. According to studies, drinking enough water throughout the day impacts children’s studies as it improves concentration span and promotes long-term memory. Moreover, the studies suggest that hydrated children are less likely to get ill because water enhances immune function.

Cold, dry air is not healthy for the skin as it leads to further dryness. Dermatologists advise their patients to drink more water to improve skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. Some of the most complex skin conditions are treated by constantly staying hydrated. Moreover, when the body is well hydrated, it can consistently control the temperature to the required levels. Winter dehydration can lead to a drop in body temperature, a lethal state that you want to avoid.

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brandon Franklin)

At the same time, dehydration makes it difficult to break down fat and manage the digestive system. So, when that crusty old Gunny keeps telling you to pound water to lose weight, he’s right. This is why most people are likely to add more weight during the colder seasons of the year. Without a doubt, weight gain can be associated with limited mobility, but dehydration is also a major course. Additionally, it explains why nutrition experts recommend drinking a lot of water when on a weight-loss journey. Having a healthy gut system is crucial and can be enhanced by hydrating regularly.

Dehydration may be a significant challenge for soldiers deployed in colder regions, especially if water is not easily accessible. Soldiers must stay hydrated full-time because of the nature of their job. Troops constantly need to be active and productive while on missions or even in garrison. Besides, by drinking enough water, they keep their immune system strong; they can fight most infections and diseases without visiting the Battalion Aid Station. Soldiers must always stay hydrated for such reasons, whether deployed in the hot, humid regions or the coldest parts of the world. Chronic dehydration is common among Americans because they neglect their bodies during winter. The effects of dehydration are severe and sometimes lead to lifetime diseases. Ensure you properly hydrate your body during colder seasons as much as you do during the summer. Drink water, change your socks.