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Drink plenty of water in this summer heat!

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It’s July in Middle Georgia and that means one thing: heat!

According to the Weather Channel, we’ve had average temperatures hovering at 90 degrees or higher since the beginning of summer and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. From summer cookouts and trips to Six Flags, to mowing the lawn and gardening, we are spending more time outside — and sweating!

So, be sure to drink water each day. My auntie sounded like a broken record telling me — even threatening at times — 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 your papa or granny to drink water, but it’s imperative for their health. Give them the infamous “this is gonna hurt you more than it does me” speech.

According to the USDA, 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, which means your body has lost water faster than it should with heat being a contributing factor. The signs of dehydration include dry mouth, dizziness, headache, weakness and fatigue.

The Macon-Bibb Cooperative Extension Office encourages you to stay hydrated as you work and play in the summer heat. Here are some tips for staying hydrated this summer:

▪  Keep a refillable water bottle with you. They have the cutest water bottles now. You can even get them monogrammed! You are more likely to refill it if you have it with you.

▪  Make water the only choice. My husband and I have made water the only choice in our home a number of times. I stopped purchasing sodas and limited the juice. As if by “mom magic,” water is consumed regularly in large amounts.

▪  Not crazy about the taste of plain water? Try infused water by adding lemons, limes or in-season berries. It’s delicious, beautiful and you are doing your body a favor.

▪  In the summer, we should increase our water intake. I 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. It all adds up.

▪  Eating out? Try having 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 right back 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! Like most fruits and vegetables, it is comprised mostly of water. It’s also in-season, so eat up.

Be safe and stay hydrated, Middle Georgia!

Contact county Extension agent Keishon J. Thomas at 478-751-6338 or thomaskj@uga.edu.