Fluid Needs

Janis Hunter,
Home & Garden Information Center

Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated when outdoor temperatures and humidity levels are extremely high. Dehydration is a health risk, especially for young children and the elderly. To avoid dehydration and keep your body working normally during the summer months, replace water lost through sweating, breathing, urination, etc. throughout the day.

On an average day, a healthy adult needs 8 to 12 cups of water. However, individual water intake needs vary widely. The exact amount needed is determined by age, gender, weight, health, level of physical activity, foods eaten and medications taken, as well as exposure to heat stress. Eighty percent of total fluid intake comes from beverages of all kinds, and the other 20% comes from foods.

Choose water as your primary beverage. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends drinking water instead of sugary drinks. Other smart beverage choices include low-fat or fat-free milk, 100% vegetable and fruit juices, and unsweetened beverages that contribute to total water intake without adding calories. Limit beverages containing carbonation, caffeine and alcohol.

Refer to HGIC 4151, Fluid Needs for additional information on the benefits of drinking water, how to determine the amount of water you need, ways to drink more water throughout the day and symptoms of dehydration.

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