European heatwave: what should you drink during 48C temperatures - how much water is needed?

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Health officials have issued guidance for how much water to drink during the Cerberus heatwave

Scorching temperatures continue to recorded in southern Europe as the continent remains in the grips of a severe heatwave.

The weather event, which has been named Cerberus after the guard dog for the underworld in Greek mythology, has resulted in highs of 40 degrees and above being recorded. In Italy, the mercury could hit as high as 48C this week - forecasters have warned.

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Schools across Britain are preparing to break-up and many families will have trips booked in the coming days. But what is the advice to stay hydrated if you are caught in a heatwave.

How much water should you drink?

Italian health officials have issued advice for residents to staying safe during the Cerberus heatwave. It recommends drinking 1.5 litres of water.

Huw Owen, co-found at TravelLocal, adds that you should also try to eat food that will keep you hydrated. He explained: "There’s a good reason why Mediterranean dishes are typically very ‘light’ and are often vegetable or salad based. For example the Caprese or Greek Salads both contain plenty of fresh, local vegetables, which have a high water content, so will in turn keep you hydrated. Eating smaller dishes, more often, will keep you energised throughout the day too.” 

Children drink from a water fountain in France during heatwaveChildren drink from a water fountain in France during heatwave
Children drink from a water fountain in France during heatwave | Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

Should you drink alcohol?

Huw Owen advises: "Everyone loves to sample a local tipple whilst they’re on holiday, it’s part of the fun. But be careful not to have too many when the temperature is so high. Alcohol instantly dehydrates you, which can then result in sunstroke if you don’t replenish your body with water.

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"It’s vital that you stay hydrated when the sun is so strong, and make a conscious effort to drink even more water than usual. About 3 litres a day will keep you hydrated. Cities including Rome and Milan also have plenty of free waterpoints dotted around, so you don’t have to keep buying bottles of water.” 

What shouldn't you drink?

Nutritionist Toby King told Huffington Post that you should avoid fizzy drinks during a heatwave. He explained: "“While some research on caffeinated drinks may suggest that the fluid in caffeinated drinks balances out the water lost because of the diuretic effect, it’s always safer to be cautious."

Research from the American Physiological Society also found that drink a pop or soft drink can actually make your dehydration worse during a heatwave.

Mr King also warned that you should avoid energy drinks during a heatwave - no matter how tempting they might be. He said: “Energy drinks are filled with sugars, caffeine and other chemicals that make them a bad choice for hydration in this heat."

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