By Erinn Brooks
Central North Carolina has seen a lot of hot days this summer! Each afternoon, our thermometers reach 90 degrees, and they sometimes even break 100 degrees. Did you know that hot weather affects your health? People sometimes experience heat exhaustion, which includes headaches, dizziness, and even fainting. Groups especially at risk for becoming dehydrated include infants, young children, and seniors, as well as people with chronic illnesses and people who work outside.
On hot days, it’s very important to stay hydrated. One way to stay hydrated is to drink a lot of water. If you don’t like drinking plain water, try infusing it with some summery fruits or vegetables. I like to use slices of cucumbers, limes, oranges, or strawberries. Just a few slices of anything you like will probably make your water taste better and more refreshing!
The ideal amount of water is at least eight glasses per day, but you should drink even more than this whenever you break a sweat. Drinking water can help a lot of common aches and pains that result from dehydration, including headaches, muscle aches, and constipation. It also gives you an energy boost!
Another way to stay hydrated is to avoid foods and drinks that lead to dehydration. Alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks contribute to dehydration. Excess caffeine (more than four cups of coffee per day) does too. Also be sure to watch out for foods high in sodium: fried foods, cured meats, movie-theatre popcorn, soy sauce, and bouillon cubes. When you do eat foods that contain a lot of sodium, remember to pour a tall glass of water too.