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Heat check: If your urine is this color, experts say you may be in trouble

A color-coded urine chart to keep proper hydration
A color-coded urine chart to keep proper hydration Sacramento Office of Emergency Services

As the Sacramento area bakes in a near weeklong heat wave, there’s a way to know if you are drinking enough water: Check your urine color.

That’s the word from the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Sacramento County OES posted a chart on Facebook titled “Are you hydrated?”

The chart shows urine colors of a hydrated person compared to someone who is dehydrated. The darker the urine, the more likely a person is dehydrated.

“Urine color is a practical and viable marker of hydration in most people,” said Dr. David S. Yee, a urologist and urologic oncologist with Sutter Roseville Medical Center. “Although not perfect, there is supporting evidence in the medical literature.”

When the brain determines that the body needs to be cooled, sweat evaporates from the body’s 2.6 million sweat glands. As a person sweats, the body loses water and electrolytes, according to the CDC.

Drinking water and replenishing electrolytes is needed to keep the body functioning. So workers need to be reminded to drink water frequently – before becoming thirsty.

“In addition to providing plenty of water in convenient locations close to the work site, employers can provide urine color charts near toilet facilities,” according to the CDC.

Another Sutter urologist noticed the chart when he was overseas in the military:

“That same color chart was posted in every bathroom and porta-potty in Iraq during my deployment in the summer of 2005,” said Dr. Kenneth Ferguson, a Sutter Health physician in Davis.

A Red Flag Warning, issued by the National Weather Service, remains in effect until 11 p.m. Thursday, June 22, 2017, as heat, dryness and hot breezes combine for dangerous conditions in the Sacramento region and Northern California in general.

It doesn't take long for the temperature inside a car to reach dangerous levels. Sacramento Metro Fire offers ways to keep everyone safe.

As the heat wave continues, Folsom Lake is a popular spot for cooling down. Families were out with young kids playing in the water Tuesday, and 11-year-old Galt resident Nesiah Tovar talked to the Bee about her family's plans for the day.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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