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morristown-senior-drinking-waterSummer temperatures are already soaring throughout the South, and it can quickly take its toll. Nothing puts a damper on summer barbecues, gardening, and outings with friends like heat exhaustion or the negative health effects of dehydration.

Here are our top tips for how you can beat the heat and get the most out of your Morristown summer:

The number one way to stay cool and comfortable is to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day. Stick close to fans or air conditioned areas, like shopping malls, movie theaters, public libraries, museums, and restaurants. Avoid outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day— which tends to be from lunch time until early evening. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go so that staying hydrated is easy. You can even keep frozen water bottles on hand and grab one before you head out, so that your water will be perfectly chilled as you go about your day.

The other reason to stick to water is that drinks like sodas, coffee, tea, and alcohol can all further dehydrate the body, and can add up to extra calories quickly when you’re frequently reaching for a refreshing beverage. Sweet tea may be the house wine of the South, as Dolly Parton’s character put it in Steel Magnolias, but it’s best to leave it for an occasional treat rather than making it your main source of summer hydration. If you prefer, you can add slices of lemon, cucumber, or mint leaves to your water bottles to give them a special flavor. It might be fun to get together with friends and hold a contest to see who can make the tastiest water infusion.

If you do go outside, wear light, breathable fabrics and loose cuts of clothing so your skin can breath and wick moisture away from your skin. Your body will have an easier time keeping cool and you won’t have to sweat so much to maintain your body temperature. If you do end up sweating a lot though, exerting yourself more than anticipated, or needing to go out during the hottest part of the day, watch out for the following symptoms of dehydration: mouth dryness, infrequent urination or urine that is a dark or deep yellow, cramping in limbs, headaches, the inability to cry tears, a general feeling of weakness or malaise, low blood pressure, rapid but weak pulse, dry or sunken eyes, or change in pace of breath.

Regency Retirement Village of Morristown staff know these signs and how to prevent them from occurring, or treat them if they do. However, anyone at any age can find themselves slowed down by the summer heat and exhibiting some of these symptoms. Even outdoor pets need extra water and special care to keep them safe and healthy. Pay attention to friends and family this summer to make sure the blazing heat doesn’t catch up with them. Be extra mindful of the very young, the very old, and those with chronic medical conditions. Also take note if you, a friend, or family member take medications with diuretic side effects, or of people with kidney conditions. Renal function depends on good, consistent hydration, and many medications make it hard to retain water or exacerbate symptoms of dehydration, such as dry mouth.

By knowing what to watch out for and how to navigate these sticky summer days, you can enjoy all the best parts of Southern summers— the porch sitting, grilling out, blue skies, green leaves, and the occasional glass of iced tea. There’s so many ways to enjoy time with friends and family in Morristown. So stay cool, and don’t let the heat get to you.