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Why You Should Drink More Water During Hot Weather

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Hot weather is here: drink water to cool off, stay safe
By David Burton, University of Missouri Extension [Article taken from The High Plains Journal - June 11, 2018 Page 18C]

Do not wait until you are thirsty to take a drink of water. Especially during the hot and humid days of summer, according to Pam Duitsman, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"Keeping the body hydrated is essential no matter what we are doing outside," said Duitsman. "Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and supporting every system in your body. That demand increases in high temperatures."

Average temperatures in southern and central Missouri hover around 90 degrees in July. Humidity percentages average in the mid to upper 80s. When our bodies are stressed by heat, we can easily develop heat-related illnesses such as heat edema (swelling), heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and most serious, heat stroke.

Hot and at risk
Elderly and very young individuals are at increased risk for heat stroke, as are those who are chronically ill, have diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. 

Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding are also vulnerable. 

Certain types of medications may also put an individual at risk for heat stroke.

Heat stroke is life-threatening and can result in serious complications. Even minor dehydration can lead to headaches, weakness, low blood pressure, irritability, dizziness, and confusion. 

"Do not wait until you are thirsty to take a drink. You may already be dehydrated by that time. Be proactive, and drink plenty of fluids before going out into the heat," said Duitsman.

Duitsman recommends keeping water handy and drink it regularly throughout the day - especially while you are exercising or working outdoors - instead of waiting until you are done. 

"Set a timer and stop every 15 minutes to take a drink. If you are overheating, find a way to cool your body down by going indoors, spraying yourself with a garden hose, or getting into a cool shower," said Duitsman. "for most people, water is the best way to keep hydrated if you are active for one hour or less."

Snacks and beverages
A cool snack can also help to hydrate and cool the body, as well as provide energy. Cold grapes, watermelon, or other seasonal fruits and vegetables are mostly water and can help hydrate the body in addition to drinking water.

"If you are active in the heat for 60 minutes or more, then a sports drink with electrolytes can be useful," said Duitsman. "Just be cautious, because sports drinks are often high in sugars and calories. Try making a sports drink by diluting 100 percent fruit juice 1 to 1 with cold water."

The Institute of Medicine suggests men drink about 13 cups of total beverages each day, and women, about 9 cups. More is needed during hot conditions or if you are physically active.

[Article taken from The High Plains Journal - June 11, 2018 Page 18C]

Here are a few easy tips to help you stay hydrated in the summer heat!  

Click on the article title above to learn more.

 

 

KP