University of Iowa Health Science Relations
First Published: November 2000
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
Water. It's so easily taken for granted. Turn on the faucet in the
kitchen or bathroom, and it comes gushing out. Sit down in a
restaurant and a glass of it automatically appears. It seems to be
conveniently available most everywhere. So, if it's everywhere, why
aren't you drinking more of it?
- Water is an essential nutrient and water deprivation kills
faster than the lack of any other nutrient.
- The amount of water you need depends on your energy needs. The
average adult needs between eight to 12 cups of water daily.
- Summertime tips
- It's summer in Iowa and your body's cooling mechanism has
problems keeping the body cool because sweat doesn't evaporate in
hot and humid conditions. As long as you can sweat and the sweat
evaporates, you can cool yourself. But if sweat can't evaporate,
you start to overheat.
- If you exercise--golfing, bicycling, hiking--during the hot
and humid weather, you have to be alert to the warning signals
before being overheated turns into something more serious, like
heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- When you're active, your muscles create heat and that heat is
absorbed by the blood. As your core temperature begins to rise,
your brain triggers two systems--it increases the blood flow to
the skin's surface so the blood can be cooled, and it tells the
sweat glands to produce sweat.
- Even mild dehydration can take its toll. You could experience
coordination problems, fatigues, and impaired judgment.
- To battle the effects of the heat and humidity:
- Stay well hydrated and eat salty snacks.
- Rest, out of the sun.
- Wear clothing that allows for evaporation.
- Wear a brimmed hat.
- Cool heat exhaustion victims with lots of water. Let them
If you have a health-related question, or to make an
appointment, call UI Health Access - 800- 777-8442 or