Local experts offer tips to beat the summer heatPublished 7:18pm Friday, May 9, 2014
With temperatures projected to reach the 90s next week and the heat likely will be here to stay as summer rapidly approaches, the importance of being proper hydrated is even more vital.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, from 1999 to 2010 there were a total of 7,415 deaths related to exposure to excessive national heat. The key to preventing heat related illness is drinking plenty of fluids, Callie Nelson, Dallas County Extension Coordinator said.
Numerous sports drinks on the market offer nutrients that the body loses when perspiring, but Nelson said water is still the key.
“It is recommended that you drink six to eight glasses of water [per day] … Even though many people think they can drink other liquids, the best thing is just water,” Nelson said.
Sports drinks do their have their benefit once the body starts sweating a lot, Nelson said, because they replenish nutrients the body is loses throughout the day.
“If you are going to be outside for long periods of time, you want to make sure you are hydrating more often,” Nelson said. “Your body is going to perspire and you are going to lose that. If you are perspiring a lot, it is okay to drink the sports drinks that contain some minerals that your body is also losing.”
Even better, Nelson said, is alternating between water and a sports drink, but she recommends starting with water.
For those that do not like the taste of water, Nelson had a few tips to get the water intake recommended. She said most people can drink more water if they drink it through a straw.
“Some people can drink more water if it is room temperature and some prefer it cold, so you just have to find the balance for what you like,” Nelson said. “Also you can flavor your water by using lemon juice or by putting different fruits in your water like lemon and lime or orange.”
Nelson also recommended eating fruits that are high in water content, like fruits and vegetables, because they help keep you hydrated. Another tip is avoiding certain drinks, according to Jim Creech, owner of Pilcher-McBryde.
“Anything with caffeine tends to dehydrate you, not only in the elderly but in kids and athletes,” Creech said. “Even green tea with caffeine could cause more problems with hydration.”