Staying hydrated is incredibly important for everyone, but it is especially crucial for those living with dysphagia. Issues or complications when swallowing can make it more challenging to take in enough liquids throughout the day. But fear not! We’re here to help with six hacks to help you stay hydrated and safe this summer.
1. Set a Schedule
Firstly, it’s a good idea to get an understanding of how much liquid you need to consume throughout the day. The amount may differ depending on where you live, and the temperature there. You can then create a schedule for drinking fluids throughout the day. Aim for little and often to make the task feel more manageable. Use your phone or post-it notes to set yourself reminders and motivations to stay hydrated.
2. Use a Straw
Many people with dysphagia find it helpful to use a straw. This can make it easier to control the flow of liquid and stop you from getting too much in your mouth at one time. Many people with dysphagia also find it useful to thicken liquids with Simply Thick gel and drink with a reusable silicone straw.
3. Hydration Through Food
When considering hydration, most of us think about liquids! However, you can also hydrate yourself using foods. Foods with a high water content can help to up your daily intake of fluids. Why not try adding snacks such as watermelon, oranges, cucumbers, or soups to your diet?
4. Add More Flavour
Constantly sipping on water can get a bit dull when trying to up your fluid intake. Why not add more excitement to your beverages with natural flavor infusions? Add slices of lemon, cucumber, or berries to your water to create a more appealing taste that will have you reaching for your drink time and time again!
5. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
If you regularly drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks, they may be contributing to dehydration and making it more challenging to get enough fluids into your body. If you can’t miss your morning coffee or a nightly glass of wine, you should factor this into the amount of hydrating fluids you need! Adding more hydrating fluids will aid in combating the dehydration caused.
6. Enjoy a Frozen Treat
When the weather heats up, is there anything better than a delicious frozen treat? Frozen treats such as chopped-up ice lollies or flavored ice chips can be a great way to hydrate for those with dysphagia. The ice has a soothing effect on the throat, which can help relieve any irritation. They are also easy to swallow and will usually simply melt in the mouth. This can be beneficial for those who struggle to coordinate their swallowing movements.
When making any changes to your lifestyle, it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional who has an understanding of your specific needs. Good hydration and nutrition can certainly aid those living with dysphagia; however, there is no “one size fits all” so it’s important to find a way to stay hydrated that works for you.