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The Importance of Hydration During COVID-19

It is well known that hydration is important for everyday health and well-being. This understanding has prompted recommendations for daily fluid consumption (which vary widely based on a number of factors), but it may be even more important now, while we are social distancing, and some are suffering from the COVID-19. To be clear, from a scientific perspective, there is no evidence suggesting that hydration is a significant factor in prevention or treatment of COVID-19 or other viruses; but the importance of hydration on overall health doesn’t disappear during times of a global pandemic. This is particularly true with the uncertainty, societal changes, and routine shifts that have occurred as a result of this pandemic, hydration may not be given the attention it normally receives in our everyday lives.

The drastic changes in routine that have occurred over the course of the last 6-8 weeks is an important reason to focus on hydration for health and wellbeing. This change in routine, will affect everyday behaviors surrounding food, water and fluids, exercise, and all other factors that we do ordinarily consider routine. Our first responders, health professionals, and essential workers are now likely working longer, busier shifts, possibly affecting their normal daily fluid consumption. For those that have been furloughed, laid off, or working from home, we’re no longer carrying our water bottles between classes for college students, with us to meetings, keeping water filled at our desk as reminders, or walking past water fountains for school-age children. We’re homeschooling, cleaning, taking work phone calls, walking the dog, and trying our best to balance all facets of this new reality, which could realistically alter the amount of fluid that we consume.

Under-consumption of water or fluids while at home has consequences that may be more impactful during this time of social distancing/quarantine. Lower consumption of water can lead to mild dehydration which is known to produce negative changes in mood for children and adults – which is certainly not ideal while families are spending record amounts of time cooped up; increase fatigue and make us feel more tired; may lead to headaches, and lessen our cognitive function and mental productivity. None of which are ideal when routines are shifted, and societal adjustments are already required.

Because we know that hydration is so important: some strategies to maintain hydration status for the family while at home:

  • Keep a full water bottle near your workspace/homeschool space for children
  • Give children open access to fluids throughout the “homeschool” day
  • Consume fluid with meals, even if they are “on-the-go” (despite having nowhere to actually go)
  • Be aware of frequency of urination – less than 4-5x per day is a signifier of dehydration
  • Monitor urine color in a void during the afternoon – urine should be a pale yellow, if dark yellow or brownish you need to consume more fluid


  • For more information from KSI, visit ksi.uconn.edu

    Author: Gabrielle E. W. Giersch, PhD of UCONN KSI (Korey Stringer Institute)

    Date Written: April 12th, 2020