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Beware of dehydration on hot summer days

Hydrate to stay healthy

Ah, summer...a time of baseball tournaments and long days at the lake. But, it's also a time when the weather can present challenges as people work outside or enjoy the outdoors. Not staying adequately hydrated is a common problem. Here's why you need to avoid dehydration.

Dehydration can lead to heat-related illnesses

"One potential problem is dehydration," said Mary Knapp who is the state climatologist for Kansas. "The human body is about two-thirds water. Dehydration occurs when a person loses more water than he takes in - by sweating, for example."

This can be a particular problem in hot, windy weather and can lead to various heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke, which can cause permanent physical impairments or even death, Knapp said.

Thirst serves as an indicator of dehydration. But, by the time people actually feel thirsty, they can already be dehydrated. This is especially true for children and older adults.

"The easiest way to avoid problems is to drink lots of water - as much as six to eight glasses a day," said Knapp, who runs the Kansas Weather Data Library, based with Kansas State University Research and Extension. "Start drinking before you begin such activities as hiking or playing ball and then keep drinking regularly, every 20 minutes or so."

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