Doctors encourage ‘Four Gulp Rule’ for drinking water in extreme heat

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ST. LOUIS – Ever heard of the Four Gulps Rule? It’s not a drinking game, but rather an important guide the public is encouraged to follow to stay properly hydrated.

As the heat wave tightens its grip over St. Louis, doctors are sending a “Hydration 101” reminder for adults and children.

“Hydrating is the best way to prevent any heat-related problems,” UnitedHealthcare Chief Medical Officer Kimberly Perry said. “It’s much easier to take care of people who are ahead of the game, than if they fall behind. And then they actually end up going to the ER, or urgent care and getting IV fluids. That’s what we want to prevent. We’ve seen anywhere from the heat rash, to heat exhaustion. And heat stroke is the worst-case scenario.”

Most people are aware of the importance of drinking plenty of water, particularly during extreme heat. They also know to avoid caffeinated products and sugary drinks, Perry said.

What they do not know, she said is exactly how much water they should consume.

The Four Gulps Rule for Water states that 16 ounces should be consumed for each hour of outdoor activity. That number breaks down to four gulps of water every 15 minutes – hence, the Four Gulp Rule.

“It is a big difference and you just have to remember that and keep water handy. Whether you’re at your office desk, whether you’re in your car,” Perry said.