Camp counselor spraying camper with sprinkler. Child is smiling and playing under the water.

Safe in Summer! The Summer Hydration Guide

By Diane Hunter, M.Ed
Health Educator

With summertime in full swing, let’s talk about ways to feel our best and keep the fun going through the hot, sunny days. What is one of the most common things to do outside in the summer? Swimming? Yes! Hiking? Yes! Fishing, biking, playing? Yes! One thing all of these fun summer activities have in common: they’re going to make us sweat. Let’s explore why the body sweats and learn how to stay cool and hydrated. 

Sweating, also known as perspiring, is an important part of the regulation of our body temperature. We all know how sweating feels – our palms, underarms, back, and eventually our entire body start to get damp as we lose water through perspiration. Because of this, if we sweat and don’t hydrate thoroughly, there is a risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

Heat exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Heat Stroke

  • Hot, red, dry skin
  • High body temperature (103 °)
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, move the person to a cool place, loosen their clothes, put cool, wet cloths on their body, and sip water.

If someone is showing signs of heat stroke, call 911 right away because heat stroke is a medical emergency. While waiting for medical attention, move the person to a cooler place, lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath, but do NOT give the person anything to drink.

For more information, read CDC guidance on heat-related illnesses.

Stay Hydrated

To avoid getting sick and missing out on all the summer fun, we need to manage our time outdoors, drink water, and find time to rest out of the sunlight. Here are a few key ways to stay hydrated.

1. Carry a full water bottle and sip from it regularly.

By the time we become thirsty, the body may already be dehydrated. Don’t love the taste of water? Flavor it by adding fresh lemons, strawberries, or herbs such as mint or lemon balm. Try this pineapple-infused water recipe or swap out the pineapple for any favorite summer fruits. 

Four clear glasses lined up on the windowsill. Each glass is full of a different combination of water and fruit with a spiral red and white straw sticking out of the glass.

Pro tip: Storing water bottles in the shade can help keep it cool. At the pool it’s a good idea to put water bottles under a chair or umbrella.

2. Snack on hydrating fruits and veggies.

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of easily-absorbable water and have the electrolytes our bodies need. Try fresh peaches, melons, celery, cucumber, or carrots. They’ll keep our bodies energized and hydrated all summer long. For more facts about the benefits of fruits and vegetables check out My Plate.

fresh peaches on wooden table

3. Watch hydration levels.

How do we know we are properly hydrated? When we use the restroom, our urine provides a clue. If urine is slightly yellow or close to clear, the body is well hydrated. If urine is a darker brownish-yellow, the body is dehydrated and needs three or more glasses of water. It’s normal to urinate every three to four hours.

4. Be consistent.

When hydrating, consistency is key. Remember: it is important to hydrate before, during, and after activities. Adults and kids alike need breaks in the shade and consistent water intake. Kids need more frequent breaks in the shade and must be reminded to drink water whenever possible. As a caregiver, it’s important that we take the time to pause activities and say, “hey, let’s take a break out of the sun and drink some water!”

By following this guidance, knowing the danger signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and paying attention to our bodies, we can stay safe in the sun. Have a happy and hydrated summer!

Featured Program: Summertime Safety

Safe outdoor fun is the focus of this program. Children learn about protection from the sun, signs of overheating and dehydration, safe warm weather exercise and nutrition, poisonous plants, bug bites and more. Be active, stay safe, and have safe fun in the hot sun.

Program Participants: Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade
Program Length: 45 minutes

Plan a Program Today
The Poe Center's General Health Icon. It is a dancing skeleton with a blue background.

Featured Resource: Citrus Pitcher

This makes enough light and refreshing citrus-scented water for everyone at the table. Plus, you can eat the fruit afterward, if you like!



ChopChop Family. (2020, November 18). – fruit water.
MyPlate | U.S. Department of Agriculture. (n.d.).
Symptoms of Heat-Related illnesses. (2024, February 15). Extreme Heat.