Can You Drink Cold Water in Hot Weather?
With the current heat wave, the messenger services are awash with well meant health advice. One such advice I’ve recently come across is a warning to avoid cold water, both for drinking and as a means to cool down. The reason given is that “somebody did that then had a stroke.”
Let’s take first a look at the facts, and then find some practical advice below.
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that drinking very cold water can cause strokes during hot weather. However, drinking very cold water can cause a temporary constriction of blood vessels in the throat, which can cause a feeling of discomfort or pain. This constriction can also cause a reflexive increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which may be dangerous for individuals with certain medical conditions. It is recommended to drink water at a moderate temperature during hot weather to stay hydrated and avoid any potential discomfort.
Also, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that immersion in very cold water during a heat wave increases the risk of stroke. In fact, immersion in cold water can have a number of health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, improving circulation, and boosting the immune system.
However, it is important to note that sudden immersion in very cold water can cause shock and may be dangerous for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease. It is recommended to gradually acclimate the body to cold water and to seek medical advice before attempting any cold water immersion therapy. Additionally, during a heat wave, it is important to stay hydrated and avoid prolonged exposure to extreme heat.
Some countries like Finland have a thriving culture of combining hot sauna with immersion in ice cold water- this is, in fact, an extreme version of what we may currently experience here.
Again, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the traditional practice of combining hot sauna and immersion in cold water in Finland and Sweden increases the risk of stroke. In fact, studies have suggested that regular sauna use may have a protective effect against stroke and cardiovascular disease. This may be due to the positive effects of sauna on blood pressure, inflammation, and vascular function. However, as with any health practice, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for an individual’s specific health needs and medical history. Additionally, it is important to follow proper sauna and cold water immersion protocols to avoid any potential risks or adverse effects.
So, to sum all this up: in the current heat wave, the most important thing to do is to keep well hydrated. Cold drinks will be okay for the vast majority of people, but if you feel uncomfortable with these, non-chilled drinks may be better for you.
You also may take cool showers to help lower your body temperature. The ideal water temperature is lukewarm, around 24-27°C (75-80°F ). After taking a cool shower, it’s a good idea to use a fan or air conditioning to help cool down your body. Fans work by evaporating sweat from your skin, which helps to lower your body temperature. You can also place a wet towel on your neck or forehead to help cool down even more.
Additionally, try to avoid going outside during the hottest parts of the day and wear loose, breathable clothing.
So the next time someone tells you to avoid cold water, both for drinking and as a means to cool down, in hot weather, you know what to tell them!
About Dr Adrian Mondry
Dr Adrian Mondry is a Hypertension Specialist accredited by the German Hypertension League in Singapore. He was previously a senior consultant in the department of medicine at the National University Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH), Dr Mondry has more than 30 years of experience in the field of internal medicine.
Dr Adrian Mondry is recognised for his leadership and contributions in establishing the dedicated hypertension clinic within the National University Health System and fast-track deep vein thrombosis service at NTFGH.
Dr Adrian Mondry is fluent in English, German and French.
About Kaizen Medical
Kaizen Medical is located at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Suite 11-57.
At Kaizen, we provide in depth health care to patients with multi-organs diseases; tackling undifferentiated presentations that cannot be easily assigned to a single organ.