April – Florida’s Water Conservation Month – may be more than halfway over. But as you hopefully go all-in on using the precious resource of water responsibly by conserving it, may we humbly suggest now is the perfect time for making sure it gets to a good place: your body.
That’s right: hot weather creeping in means it’s time to make sure you stay properly hydrated. TECO team members make it priority, and even if your day-to-day tasks don’t include, say, spending time in the sun at the top of a power pole, it’s important to remember that dehydration can sneak up on you – and the effects can be dire.
First, let’s talk about you
You should be sure to drink water anytime you feel the need – and especially when the weather’s warm, even if you don’t feel the need. To forgo this, especially outside, is to face serious physical risks. Red bumps on the skin, from sweat that can’t evaporate, can signal heat rash. Heat cramps can lead to muscle spasms caused by heavy loss of bodily moisture. At a certain point, dehydration affects the flow of blood to your brain, impairing your judgment and increasing the chances that you’ll pass out. Imagine that happening when you’re driving – or even walking down some stairs.
To help you stay hydrated, here’s some guidance from the American Heart Association. In addition, consider these tips:
- Remember – especially if you’re engaged in strenuous activity – if you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated.
- To avoid this, when the temperature outside exceeds 95 degrees, we recommend drinking 24 – 32 ounces of water an hour. Yes, an hour!
- For every 20 minutes of exercise, drink up to 10 ounces of fluid – ideally water.
- With your water, eat fruits like bananas and dates, which have high levels of the electrolyte potassium.
- If you start to feel light-headed, take a break and yes, drink some water!
- As the CDC recommends, choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. This can also help with weight management. Substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar sweetened soda will save you about 240 calories.
To beat the heat with proper hydration, here are some general hydration guidelines to follow when you’re active outside:
|80° – 90° F||Every 50 mins.||12-20 oz. water|
|90° – 95° F||Every 45 mins.||16-24 oz. water|
|95°+ F||Every 40 mins.||24-32 oz. water|
Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post on water conservation
From the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) – which TECO has proudly partnered with on major efforts, like the Edison Award-winning Polk Power Station Regional Reclaimed Water Project – here are 10 simple tips to help you lower your monthly water bill and do your part to save hundreds of gallons of water:
- Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they are full.
- Use the shortest clothes washing cycle for lightly soiled loads; normal and permanent press wash cycles use more water.
- Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.
- Scrape, don’t rinse, your dishes before loading in the dishwasher.
- Install high-efficiency showerheads, faucets and toilets.
- Check your home’s irrigation system for leaks.
- Turn off your irrigation system and only water as needed.
- Don’t leave sprinklers unattended. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn sprinklers off.
- Use a hose with a shutoff nozzle when washing the car.
- Consider installing a rain barrel with a drip irrigation system for watering your landscaping. Rainwater is free and better for your plants because it doesn’t contain hard minerals.
Additional guidance from SWFWMD: Leaks are the biggest water waster, both inside and outside of your home. You can use your water meter to check for leaks. Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances and make sure no one uses water during the testing period. Wait for the hot water heater and ice cube makers to refill and for regeneration of water softeners. Go to your water meter and record the current reading. Wait 30 minutes. (Remember: no water should be used during this period.) Read the meter again. If the reading has changed, you have a leak.
Hydration and water conservation: two ideas that go great together – in your brain, in your body, in your life.
Water you waiting for?