Watch Your Water Intake (droughtstress7)

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Weathering Tough Times: Watch Your Water Intake

Keeping Your Family First

Hot, dry summer days should be reminding each of us to pay special attention to our own fluid intakes. Whether you are outside on the job or for recreation, it is important to keep a water bottle handy at all times. Adults should closely monitor the children in their care as well, and see that they drink water throughout the day.

As a nutrient, one of the important roles for water is to regulate core body temperature. It takes only a few minutes in the hot outdoors before you begin sweating. The moisture on your skin helps to cool you down as the air moves over your body. The cooling action is good but you are losing water from your body that will need to be replaced. Unless that water is replaced, you risk disrupting this important cooling mechanism. Unreplaced water loss can result in fatigue, nausea, headaches, and dizzyness. Severe water loss can lead to heat stroke and even death.

Most people will need from 8-12 cups of water daily, from drinking water, other beverages and water contained in foods. When you don't get enough water, your body will trigger a sense of thirst. However, during hot weather, drink water before you feel thirsty to avoid the signs of water deprivation. The best fluid replacement is plain, cool water but other fluids will work, too. Beverages with caffeine are not the best choice for replacing lost water because caffeine increases water loss through urination.


  • Dr. Linda Boeckner, Extension Nutrition Specialist, University of Nebraska Panhandle Research & Extension Center

Photo Credit - Rita Shelley

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