Stay Cool and Drink Water

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glassWhether it’s working in the garden, mowing the grass or washing the car, we spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer. When you’re outside in the heat, it’s important to avoid strenuous activities during the hot hours of the day and to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

In a worst case, you can go beyond overheating and suffer a heat stroke as a result of overexertion in hot, humid weather. Heat stroke can result in unconsciousness, hallucinations, confusion, coma and, potentially, death. Your heart, liver or kidneys can suffer permanent damage.

Stay inside an air-conditioned space when the weather is very hot (often between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) or take regular breaks inside a cool location.

We need fluids to keep our bodies properly cooled. Children need from 4 to 11 cups of total water (total beverages, including water) a day. Adults need from 9 to 13 cups of total water (total beverages, including water) a day. The amount depends on your age, gender, level of physical activity, altitude and climate.

During hot weather, you will need to consume more fluids, but don’t go by thirst alone. To prevent dehydration it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. One way to tell if you are drinking enough fluids is to check the color of your urine. Your urine should be light yellow in color. If it is a dark color, you need to drink more.

Consider these beverage tips based on messages from

  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks when you’re thirsty. Regular soda pop, sports drinks and other sweetened beverages provide more calories than most people need.
  • Pay attention to your thirst. Everyone’s needs are different, but most of us get enough water from the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. Drink plenty of water if you are very active, live or work in hot conditions or are an older adult.
  • If you are a parent of young children, remember that they can’t always tell you they are thirsty, so provide fluid regularly.
  • When water just won’t do, enjoy the beverage of your choice but cut back. Select smaller cans, cups or glasses instead of large options.
  • Try making a simple, easy fruit smoothie that will quench your thirst by combining ½ cup of fruit, 1 cup of low fat vanilla yogurt and ½ cup 100% fruit juice.  Put the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

Enjoy the summer months and outdoor activities, but remember when you are working outside or exercising to take rest breaks and to drink plenty of water.


Written By

Photo of Dee DeckerDee DeckerExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences (828) 488-3848 (Office) dee_decker@ncsu.eduSwain County, North Carolina
Updated on Jul 22, 2014
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