The average daytime temperature for Birmingham over the month of June was an immediate sweat-inducing 93 degrees — a full 4 degrees above normal – and we’re not even close to the dog days of August.

UAB nutritionist Kathy Hubbert says people often don’t drink enough fluids throughout the day — a bad idea as we head into what is traditionally the hottest time of the year for our area. Here are some tips she has for making sure you stay well-hydrated and equipped to better handle the heat:
 • Any time you pass a water fountain stop and get four or five big  gulps.
 • If you’re taking medication or a vitamin, instead of taking a few sips to take the medicine, drink the whole glass of water.
 • Even if you’re having another     beverage with a meal, have a glass of water as well.  
 • Keep a bottle of water in your car with you. As you’re driving, don’t forget to take some swallows out of it.
 • If you don’t like the taste of water, try flavoring it with lemon  or lime slices, or pick up the now- popular flavor packets (most of  which are low in calories) in your  grocery store.
 • Prepare a water bottle daily. “In the summer I fill up a bottle half way and lay it tilted in my freezer and then fill it up with tap water the next morning,” Hubbert says. “It will cool down the tap water more quickly than it would if you  sat the bottle straight up in your freezer to freeze.”

And, as the weather continues to heat up, all of us are likely to be outside doing yard work, exercising, going to the beach, sunbathing by the pool, etc.

One thing each of us should remember as we venture outdoors is the human body’s need to stay hydrated, says Kathy Hubbert, a UAB registered dietitian.

Hubbert says just because you may not feel thirsty doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be drinking water, something especially true for children and seniors.

“In children, the thirst mechanism is not fully developed, and in seniors, the sense of thirst has diminished,” Hubbert says. “By the time your brain signals thirst, you may have lost 1 percent of your body weight or about 3 cups of sweat for a 150-pound person. A 2 percent loss may reduce your work capacity by 10 to 15 percent.”

Hubbert recommends that everyone drink at least two cups of water before heading outdoors for summer activities. She says it’s also good practice to drink at least eight ounces of water every 30 minutes you are outside, if possible.

It’s OK to incorporate a sports drink, such as Gatorade or POWERade, along with the water. “Those can be very useful because they contain electrolytes such as sodium and potassium,” Hubbert says. “It’s not a bad idea to alternate if you are going to be outside exerting yourself because you will lose sodium and potassium.”

The best self-test a person can give themselves to test their hydration is to monitor the color of their urine, Hubbert says. Those who are well-hydrated will have urine that is almost clear “or at least a very, very light color,” she says.

What Hubbert says is most important to remember, however, is to keep drinking those fluids, even if you don’t think you are all that thirsty.

“You might not sense feeling thirsty, but it’s still important you drink more fluids, especially in the outdoors and in the heat,” she says.