The Importance of Staying Hydrated in Hot Weather

It’s important to stay hydrated during the summer to prevent dangerous heat-related illnesses. Here's how to beat the next heat wave and how to recognize the signs of dehydration in children and adults.

Staying hydrated is good for your whole body. When you’re fully hydrated you’ll have a clearer mind, more energy, and less pain. Good hydration aids digestion and even helps you maintain a healthy weight. But most importantly, staying hydrated during the summer helps to prevent dangerous heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

In Texas last summer, temperatures hit record highs. 2023 was the second-hottest summer on record, with heat waves lasting for weeks at a time. So with the hottest months of the year still ahead of us, we’d like to remind you now just how important it is to make sure you stay hydrated when it’s hot outside.

Why Is It Important to Stay Hydrated in Summer?

High outdoor temperatures will automatically bring your body temperature up above normal, so drinking enough water is essential to stay cool. Just being outside in the heat can be enough to raise your core temperature, even if you’re just relaxing by the pool or soaking up some rays as you stroll the neighborhood. 

Staying hydrated will help:

  • Improve brain, heart, and kidney function
  • Regulate body temperature 
  • Help you avoid heat exhaustion

If you’re working, exercising, or playing outside you need to be even more careful. Any activities that make you work up a sweat can also leave you dehydrated and overheated. Your body sweats to cool itself off, but if you sweat too much, you’re putting yourself in danger of heat exhaustion. If you get so dehydrated that your body can’t sweat any more, you could even experience a life-threatening condition called heat stroke.

How Much Water Do You Need Every Day?

Divide your weight in half, and that’s the number of ounces of water you should be drinking every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to drink at least 75 ounces of water, which is a little less than 9 cups. 

But don’t try to drink all your water in one go—that won’t help keep you hydrated. Instead, keep your water bottle filled and sip on it throughout the day. You can even use a timer or a smartphone app to help you remember to drink more water.

How to Stay Hydrated This Summer

Small children and adults over 65 can get dehydrated very easily. If you have babies, toddlers, or elderly people in your care, you’ll need to make sure they’re drinking enough water and getting enough electrolytes to stay hydrated. 

Electrolytes are essential minerals like sodium and potassium that help balance the amount of water in the body. If someone is sweating a lot, not drinking enough water, or losing water because of vomiting or diarrhea, they’ll need more electrolytes to help their body retain the water it needs.

Electrolytes are added to sports drinks like Gatorade, as well as special rehydrating formulas like Pedialyte. They can be found in other types of foods and drinks as well. For example, coconut water is high in naturally-occurring electrolytes and is a great option for rehydrating your body after exercising or playing sports outside. Eating foods like bananas, potatoes, and dark leafy greens that are rich in potassium will help you stay hydrated, too. 

Fruits and vegetables that have a high water content, like watermelon, citrus, and tomatoes are also a great way to increase your water intake. And if your kids don’t want to stop playing to take a water break, try giving them some homemade popsicles instead. If you have a popsicle mold, you can blend fruit and water together to make some healthy (and hydrating!) frozen treats at home.

What Are the Symptoms of Dehydration?

Mild symptoms can usually be treated at home with rest and hydrating beverages. Moderate or persistent symptoms may require a trip to urgent care for an IV. If symptoms are severe—especially in babies, toddlers, and elderly people—emergency treatment may be necessary. 

Dehydration symptoms in babies and toddlers include:

  • Dark urine
  • Fewer than six wet diapers per day
  • Crying without tears
  • Sunken eyes or sunken soft spot
  • Dry tongue and lips
  • Rapid breathing
  • Blotchy hands and feet

Dehydration symptoms in kids and adults include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Chapped lips
  • Swollen feet
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue 
  • Dizziness
  • Dark urine
  • Muscle cramps
  • Chills

Urgent Care for Dehydration in Whitehouse, Texas

Dehydration is dangerous. Besides heat stroke, it can also cause kidney failure, coma, and even death. Knowing how to recognize the signs of dehydration could save the life of someone you care about. 

If you or your loved ones ever need urgent medical care, the team at Total Point is ready to help. You can visit us at 306 E Main Street in Whitehouse, or check our locations page to find an East-Central Texas clinic near you.


Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 5/28/2024.

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