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Our bodies and water

We all know that water is good for you but a lot of people don't know that not drinking enough water causes a number of problems such as:

  1. Dizziness
  2. Headaches
  3. Kidney problems
  4. Constipationillustration of kidneys in the human body
  5. Dehydration (lack of water)

Drinking lots of water can help give you healthy skin, boost your energy levels and keep you mentally alert. Water is the only drink that contains absolutely no calories or fat which can help keep you, your bones, teeth, hair and nails healthy.

Our bodies need water to:

  1. Clean the blood passing through the kidneys.
  2. Keep body temperatures even.
  3. Help digest food.
  4. Carry food and oxygen to body parts/organs.
  5. Prevent salt from building up in the body.
  6. Remove waste products from food and drink.
  7. Help remove carbon dioxide from our muscles.

Water is an important ingredient of human tissue and cells. It fills hollows between your bones, and flows through kilometres of arteries and veins along with your blood.

The body also needs water to clean the blood in the kidneys. All the blood passes through the kidneys 15 times a day where water helps to 'wash' it. If the kidneys fail, the human body cannot survive for more than 3 weeks with unclean blood.

Are you drinking enough water?

The colour of your wee may indicate that you are dehydrated. When you are dehydrated, it means that the amount of fluids (water) your body is losing is more than the amount of water your body is taking in. The Food Standards Agency advise that we take around 1.5 to 2 litres of water in a typical day, the equivalent to 6 to 8 250ml glasses. Why not check the colour of your wee to make sure you're drinking enough water using our fun wee-o-meter. Download here to check the colour of what comes out naturally against the scale (pdf).

Water for hygiene

Did you know?

You have between 10,000 and 10 million bacteria on each hand.illustration of person washing their hands

The number of germs on your fingertips doubles after you use the toilet.

Only about 70% of people wash their hands after being to the toilet.

Hand washing is a good way of stopping the spread of disease by direct or indirect contact.  Many people think that, in public toilets, liquid soap and either paper towels or hot air dryers are best. Using these properly and regularly will remove most germs.

So, when should we wash our hands?

  1. Before eating food.
  2. Before preparing any food.
  3. After using the toilet.
  4. After contact with blood, vomit or other body fluids.
  5. After handling pets, pet cages or anything pets have touched.
  6. After going out to play.
  7. After coming into contact with anything particularly dirty, like rubbish bins.

Washing with soap and water will only work if it is done properly. We need to wash the backs and fronts of our hands, and the tips and sides of our fingers. A blob of soap and plenty of warm water to sluice it off (very hot water isn’t necessary).

How do I wash my hands properly?

Washing your hands properly takes about as long as singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice.  Clean your hands by downloading our poster here.

Click here to download our poster on how to wash your hands properly (pdf).