Here’s a quick tip for those of you who might indulge in outdoor activities during hot weather periods. Keep a bag of salted potato chips in your shoulder bag, backpack or vehicle. Along with dehydration comes a reduction in electrolytes. You may begin feeling weak and disoriented. If your potassium levels fall below what are considered normal you will become ill. You might even throw up which will deplete your electrolyte levels further. During summer months hospital emergency rooms are filled with people suffering from precipitous drops in their electrolytes. I spoke to a fellow the other day who was hospitalized for two days when his potassium levels plummeted. He’d been working in his garden in the hottest part of the day. He’d sweated profusely and even though he spent most of his time in the shade he still came down with heat exhaustion and severe electrolyte depletion. “I thought I was dying,” he said.
I’ve employed this quick-aid method on numerous occasions and believe me it works. Salted potato chips are both high in potassium and sodium chloride. One ounce of potato chips will give you about 465 mg of potassium. By the way, a medium sized baked potato eaten with the skin delivers nearly 1,000 mgs of potassium. But to bake a potato takes time and I’m talking here about a quick first aid jumpstart to a potassium deficiency crisis. A bag of salted potato chips is ultralight so don’t obsess about weight because this is something that might save your life in an emergency. Besides potassium you’ll also get a carb hit and that can give you enough energy to go find help. By the way, dogs love potato chips—or at least my dogs love potato chips. And you know how I love my dogs.