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When you go for a walk on a hot day, make sure you take plenty of water. Drink regularly, don't let it reach the point when you feel thirsty, because you have already started to dehydrate by that point. It is also important what you drink. You should not drink the following, as they dehydrate you:

  • Alcoholic drinks (or, if you just have to have a drink in a pub on the way, drink extra water to compensate)
  • Coffee (tea is less dehydrating, and is ok, but water is still better!)
  • Fizzy drinks (except energy drinks)
  • Drinks with lots of additives.
  • Sea Water - high salt content dehydrates rapidly

The best drink you can have is water. Tea and energy drinks (i.e. lucozade) are also ok. Even if it is an emergency, do NOT drink urine or sea water, as they speed up dehydration, and could kill you. Do not drink from streams unless it is an emergency, or you are sure it is safe to do so.

If you do have to drink from a stream, always check upstream. Do not drink the water if any of the following are visible upstream.

  • Dead carcasses of animals
  • Freshly fertilised fields
  • Cars parked next to the river
  • Drainage outlet pipe into the river
  • Signs of rats or other vermin living in the water
  • Visible pollution
  • Animals drinking from the water.

This may seem like just about all watercourses and, well, it certainly is most of them. However, in remote UPLAND areas, there may well be suitable drinking supplies. Never drink from a major river, always from a point on a minor stream, as high up the watercourse as possible. If you have facilities to boil water, or you have some form of purification system (they can be purchased from outdoors shops) it is a good idea to purify the water before drinking.



All content D. Spencer 2002-2004 unless otherwise stated.

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