It’s July in Georgia and that means one thing: heat. According to the Weather Channel, we’ve had average temperatures hovering at 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher since the beginning of summer, and there seems to be no end in sight for high temperatures.
Whether cooking out, going to the amusement park, mowing the lawn or working in the garden, Georgians spend more time outside sweating in the summer. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents like me are here to remind you to drink your daily serving of water. When I was a child, my auntie sounded like a broken record telling me, even threatening me, to drink water.
Some members of our community, namely seniors, may require more water to keep hydrated. As we age we may not recognize the symptoms of dehydration as quickly. I know it can be a challenge to get Papa or Granny to drink water, but it’s imperative to their health. Give them the infamous speech: “This is going to hurt you more than it does me…”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, water is essential for good health. Water has a number of functions for our bodies. It regulates body temperature, removes waste and protects our bones and joints. It also protects us from a variety of heat-related illnesses, such as dehydration, when your body loses water faster than it should. Heat is a contributing factor to dehydration. The signs of dehydration include dry mouth, dizziness, headache, weakness and fatigue.
UGA Extension encourages Georgians to stay hydrated while working and playing in the summer heat by following these tips:
- Keep a refillable water bottle with you. The cutest water bottles are available now — you can even get them monogrammed! You are more likely to refill your water bottle if you actually have it with you.
- Make water the only choice. A number of times, my husband and I have made water the only beverage choice in our home. I stopped purchasing sodas and limit juice. As if by magic — “Mom magic,” if you will — water is consumed regularly and in large amounts.
- If you are not crazy about the taste of plain water, try infused water by adding lemon, lime or in-season berries. It’s delicious, beautiful and you will be doing your body a favor.
- Begin each day with a glass of water. I find it wakes up my system and keeps things moving. I also drink one glass of water before and after drinking sweet tea (my absolute favorite).
- When dining out, try ordering water as your drink with your entrée. It’s also economical. Have you glanced at the price of the average beverage in restaurants lately? My children tell me, “Momma, you always order water.” I often joke that I cannot afford to buy drinks for all of us.
- Eating foods with high moisture content can also assist you in getting your daily water intake. I love watermelon, and, like most fruits and vegetables, it is comprised mostly of water. It’s also in season, so eat up.
Be safe and stay hydrated, Georgia.
(Keishon Thomas is the University of Georgia Extension family and consumer sciences agent in Bibb County.)
Stay hydrated during hot Georgia summers by keeping a refillable water bottle nearby. Drink water throughout the day to keep heat-related emergencies at bay.Download Image