How much water should you be drinking to ensure heatwave hydration?

Three litres of water a day will improve your healthThree litres of water a day will improve your health
Three litres of water a day will improve your health
A leading surgeon has recommended people drink three litres of water a day and said a "radical culture change" towards drinking water is required to help the country stay hydrated during the heatwave.

Bhaskar Somani, a consultant urological surgeon at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said attitudes towards water consumption "remained poor" even among those at higher risk of health problems.

He said: "We should take this opportunity to remind people that consumption of three litres of water a day is a small price to pay to help maintain and improve your health, particularly during heatwave spells such as the one we are in right now."

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He spoke out following a study of 162 patients who received treatment for kidney stones - for which poor hydration is a significant risk factor - at Southampton General Hospital.

It found less than a third (28%) increased their water intake, despite receiving advice after treatment on the need to drink 2.5 to 3 litres a day, particularly in the summer months, with the average intake of water at around 1.5 litres.

Almost a quarter (22%) said the reason for avoiding water was because they didn't like the taste, while 26% blamed their habits and 10% said they only drank when thirsty.

Mr Somani said: "As a urologist, it clearly concerns me that patients who have suffered with the pain and discomfort of kidney stones are not keen to take this simple step to help improve their health.

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"It then begs the question that, if those are the views of people in a high-risk group, what is the feeling among those who have no current health risks which could be aided by better hydration?"

He added: "As the country contends with this sustained period of extremely hot weather, we need to draw attention to why attitudes towards hydration remain

poor and how we can bring about a radical culture change to address it."

Mr Somani said his team had seen a rise in the number of patients admitted to hospital with renal colic - a pain associated with kidney stones - and stone formation in the past three weeks, but the effects stretched much further.

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He explained: "Emergency departments are seeing large numbers of elderly patients who are dehydrated, along with outdoor workers who are battling the heat during the hottest parts of the day - and many of the problems tie in with poor fluid intake."

The NHS Choices website recommends people drink 1.2 litres of water daily (six to eight glasses) but adds: "In hotter climates, the body needs more than this. We also get some fluid from the food we eat."