Stay Hydrated in the Heat

By Donnia Behrends
Extension Educator

Photo of woman drinking a glass of waterAs Nebraska enters the hottest months of the year, it is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Did you know there is more water in your body than anything else? More than half of your body weight is water. Water is an essential nutrient because your body cannot make enough to survive. Over one-half of the water you need comes from liquids you drink, and over one-third comes from the food you eat.

It is important to drink enough water each day to maintain a healthy level of hydration. Thirst is a sign of dehydration, so do not wait until you are thirsty to take a drink.

Symptoms of dehydration

  • Dry lips and mouth
  • Small amount of saliva
  • Small amount of urine
  • Dark yellow urine

Going to be outside in the heat?

  • Drink two to three glasses of water one to two hours before going outside.
  • Take water breaks every 15 minutes.
  • Schedule strenuous activities for the cooler parts of the day.

How much water do you need every day?

  • Unlike other nutrients, there isn't a specific daily recommendation for water because of variability in climate, physical activity level, state of health, and body size.
  • Typically, adults should get between six and eight cups of fluid daily.
  • Drink water throughout the day and with meals to prevent thirst.
  • Drink more water if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, working in hot weather, or exercising.

Tips for drinking more water

  • Place a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. You'll have cold water ready to drink and can keep track of how much water you are drinking.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle.
  • Add a small amount of 100 percent fruit juice to water for a different flavor.
  • Use a straw or add ice cubes.
  • Offer children and older adults water to drink throughout the day.