Saying Cool and Hydrated on Hot Summer Days
August tends to be an extremely hot month. Staying well hydrated and healthy in the summer sun will help ensure an enjoyable outdoor experience for you and your family. Since most of our body is made of water, we must be sure to provide ample fluids for proper body function. During hot days our body sweats as a natural cooling process. In high humidity, sweat will not evaporate quickly enough and your body will not cool down as efficiently. Drinking six to eight glasses (eight ounce glasses) of water per day can help keep your body hydrated and reduce heat stress. Conditions such as age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, excessive sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use can all increase heat stress on the body. Do not wait until you feel thirsty to drink water.
The best time to consume fluids is before you are thirsty. By the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. When it is hot outside it is best to drink on a schedule. Avoid drink containing caffeine or alcohol while in the sun or heat. The best drink is water.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
• Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Consider carrying a reusable water bottle and filling it throughout the day.
• If you have a difficult time drinking plain water, add a slice or lemon or lime to your drink.
• Start and end each day with a glass of water.
• When you feel hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by only drinking water.
• Dink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it is free.
• If you are going to be exercising, make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout.
Some medications increase your sensitivity to the sun. Be sure to check with your doctor about the medications you are taking and exposure to the sun or heat. To reduce the heat stress on your body drink cool nonalcoholic beverages and increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level
During the hot summer months, choose clothing that will protect your body from the heat and sun. Some of the best clothing should include:
• Light, loose fitting clothing – light in both color and weight
• Hat or visor – wide brimmed is preferred
• Sandals or other shoes that protect the bottom of your feet from the heat
Set a good example for your children by practicing safe sun and heat exposure, and drinking plenty of water to keep the body hydrated. Teach your children to wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, and limit exposure to the sun and heat. Children and adults should also avoid drinking large amounts of sugar because it can cause additional fluid loss. It is also good to avoid very cold drinks because they can cause painful stomach cramps. Never leave children or pets in a parked car on hot days. Even if the window is cracked open, the temperature in the car can become dangerously hot and cause heat-related illnesses and possibly death.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
• Rapid, weak heartbeat
• Heavy Sweating
• If experiencing these symptoms you should stop, drink more fluids, and cool down. Seek medical treatment if these symptoms don’t improve rapidly
• Take extreme care if exercising for more than 30 minutes in very hot weather.
Dehydration, heat and sun injury can be prevented. All it takes is a little planning for the hot summer days. Drink plenty of water, you will be glad you did. For more information on nutrition and a variety of other topics contact your local Cooperative Extension. 1.800.ASK.UGA1
If you are interested in nutrition classes in Spanish or English contact: Chatham County, Carmen Martinez (912) 652-7994 or email@example.com or in Appling/Wayne Counties, Fani Orellana at (912) 367-8130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.