Caregivers for a family member living with a disability or an aging parent know the summer heat in Illinois and Missouri can present greater health risks for their loved one. That increased risk can be blamed on a variety of causes ranging from medication-related sun sensitivities to exacerbation of lung problems. Staying hydrated is important, and it doesn’t require just drinking a lot of water. There are foods that can improve hydration and other preventive measures that can help.

7 Ways to Improve Hydration

Drinking eight to ten glasses of water each day during the summer is important. We all know that. There are, however, a few ways to stay hydrated that aren’t as well known. Here a few suggestions to try:

1. Popsicles. This fun summer treat from childhood contains a high concentration of water. An added bonus is some popsicles are also rich in electrolytes. Both help to improve hydration.

2. Munch on melon. Another tasty treat that can promote hydration is watermelon. It is also loaded with Lycopene, a nutrient that supports heart and bone health. Other fruits that have a healthy percentage of water include cantaloupe, peaches, apples, pineapple, and pears.

3. Double up on veggies. Fruits aren’t the only food group that can help with hydration. Vegetables like cucumber, green pepper, eggplants, lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots contain lots of water, too.

4. Limit alcohol intake. Summer is a time of year that we attend outdoor parties and celebrations that often include alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, alcohol can contribute to dehydration. It is best to limit or completely avoid alcoholic beverages in the summer sun.

5. Avoid caffeinated beverages. Sodas, coffee drinks, and teas that have caffeine all have a diuretic effect on your body. That means they push liquids through your system faster and can lead to dehydration.

6. Choose outdoor time wisely. Try to limit the time you or a loved one with a disability spends outdoors to the coolest times of day. That typically means avoiding the midday sun. Going out for an early morning or late evening walk is best.

7. Wear a hat. Wearing a lightweight hat with a brim at least 3 inches wide will help shade the face and neck, and keep your loved one cooler.

The experts at WebMD have put together a Dehydration Symptom Checker that you might find helpful. It can be used for all age groups including with children and the elderly to evaluate their risk for dehydration.

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