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Beat the Heat this Summer – Stay Hydrated for Health

Stay hydrated to beat the heat!

Stay hydrated to beat the heat!

Summer is in full swing and our part of the country is very hot.  When the temperature rises, proper hydration is extra important. You need to provide your body with the fluid that it needs to stay healthy. Water regulates many different body processes, including body temperature, digestion, and heart rate. It also cushions and protects our internal organs and joints. When we do not get enough of it, our bodies can suffer.  We lose water from our bodies every time we breathe, sweat, or urinate. In fact, it’s estimated that you can lose up to 4 cups of water during an hour of exercise in the heat. This water loss can lead to dehydration.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Little or no urine, or dark urine
  • Dizziness, or lightheaded feeling
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Cramping

Ultimately, dehydration can lead to extreme thirst, confusion, heat stroke, loss of consciousness, and death.  So, how can you manage staying hydrated in the heat of summer?  One of the key answers is not to wait until you are thirsty. Drink water regularly!  Food can also provide some of the water you need every day- especially food like watermelon, soup, milk, lettuce, and strawberries. Sugar-sweetened sports drinks or beverages with added minerals, vitamins, or electrolytes are NOT necessary unless you are a competitive athlete or in heavy training for an athletic event.

Tips for staying hydrated:

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Purchasing bottled water is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste. Carry a reusable water bottle and fill it from the tap instead.
  • If you do not like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or another type of fruit to your drink.
  • Be sure to drink water before, during, and after a workout.
  • When you are feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water.
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it is free!

Be safe this summer and stay hydrated, so you will enjoy your outdoor time. Also, remind you family and friends to drink water too.  You will all feel better and have more fun!

4-H U Live Streaming Tonight!

Print4-H University will be streaming live for your viewing pleasure at

Tune in to see the impact UF IFAS Extension 4-H has on Florida’s youth. Don’t miss the awards banquet tonight at 6PM Eastern/5PM Central.  During tonight’s program, you can see 4-Hers accept scholarships, watch the newly elected state officers inducted, and also see distinguished 4-H volunteers and stakeholders inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame!  Two volunteers from the Florida Panhandle will be inducted tonight- Barry Hoffman from Leon County 4-H and Terry Stout from Okaloosa County 4-H.  Both men have been volunteers at the club, county, district and state levels.  They serve on both the Area A Horse Advisory Committee and the State 4-H Horse Advisory Committee and have supported the Florida 4-H Program for more than 20 years!

Ways to Water Safety

Do you know how to properly fit a life jacket?

Do you know how to properly fit a life jacket?  Photo credit Washington County Extension.

Like Dr. Seuss said, “It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”  With over 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways, 4,136 miles of beaches, coastlines, and shorelines, and 4,308 square miles of total water area, Floridians can enjoy time on the water year-round.  Whether you’re out cruising the river, fishing for Red Snapper in the gulf or wakeboarding on a spring-fed lake, you should be thinking about water safety.

The number one rule in boating and water sports safety is to wear a life jacket.  According to, 77% of fatal boating accidents were drowning victims, and 84% of those victims weren’t wearing life jackets.  Florida law states that all children six years of age and under must wear a life jacket, but all youth can benefit from wearing a properly sized, snug fitting U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket to ensure safety in and around water and while boating.

You might think that life jackets are useful only in rough conditions, but one-half of all water related fatalities happen in calm waters.  So, when would a life jacket save lives?

  • When a boat has capsized in rough water.
  • When a boat sinks in heavy sea conditions.
  • When a person is thrown from a boat after a collision.
  • When an injury occurs.
  • When a person is tossed into freezing water.
  • When a person is thrown off balance and into the water fishing.

    According to Florida law, youth ages 6 and under must wear a life jacket, but everyone can benefit from wearing one.  Photo credit Washington County Extension.

    According to Florida law, youth ages 6 and under must wear a life jacket, but everyone can benefit from wearing one. Photo credit Washington County Extension.

  • When a carbon monoxide fumes cause unconsciousness.
  • When a person is unable to swim because of heavy, waterlogged clothing.

To ensure you have a properly fitting life jacket:

  1. Choose a life jacket for your size and weight.
  2. Correctly fasten all straps and buckles.
  3. Hold your arms up in the touchdown pose.
  4. Ask someone to gently pull up on the tops of the arm openings.
  5. Check there is no excess room above the arm opening and to make sure the jacket doesn’t ride up over your chin or face.

Remember, fun items like pool noodles, floats and water wings should never be substituted for a well-fitting life jacket.  Consider a life jacket like any other piece of sporting equipment that requires maintenance.  Check it yearly for wear and tear and for buoyancy, and throw away leaky, faded, waterlogged and misshapen life jackets.   Football players wear helmets, drivers and car riders wear seat belts – responsible boaters should wear life jackets.

If you have a passion for fishing or boating, consider becoming a 4-H Sports fishing project leader.  We have some wonderful curriculum and resources for volunteers who would like to share their fishing expertise with youth.  To find out more, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office, or visit

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3rd Annual 4-H Day at LEGOLAND

4-H Day at LEGOLAND is Saturday, September 26th.  Be sure to wear your 4-H shirt and share photos #4heverywhere

4-H Day at LEGOLAND is Saturday, September 26th. Be sure to wear your 4-H shirt and share photos #4heverywhere

The 3nd Annual 4-H Day at LEGOLAND on Saturday, September 26th. This event is an opportunity for 4-H members and their families to explore the LEGOLAND theme park at a deep discount, while raising funds for 4-H clubs, camps, and other educational programs.  LEGOLAND is a great way to have fun with the entire family and learn about science, engineering, and technology.  The Florida Department of Ag’s greenhouse is a must-see attraction.  You can learn all about Florida agriculture and how we are feeding the nation and world.  Just don’t eat the produce- it’s all made from LEGOs!  You can also sign up for a robotics class while you are there to learn how engineers design, build, program, and test


The Florida Department of Agriculture Greenhouse is a must-see attraction at LEGOLAND.

The Florida Department of Agriculture Greenhouse is a must-see attraction at LEGOLAND.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Tickets are $30.00/person ($5.00 per ticket benefits the Florida 4-H Foundation)

  • Any family that has participated in 4-H is eligible for the discount (this includes 4-H clubs, camps, day camps, school, afterschool, and military 4-H programs)
  • Youth under the age of 3 are admitted for free
  • Tickets are only good for Saturday, September 26th, 2015
  • Tickets must be ordered online at least 24 hours before the event
  • Use this secure link to order 4-H discount tickets-
  • You do not have to bring your 4-H Membership Card, just bring the tickets you print at home generated by the link above
  • If you have a 4-H t-shirt, please wear it! We would like to see a “sea of green” at LEGOLAND that day. You can order a 4-H t-shirt at:
  • You are responsible for your transportation to and from the park, and for making any reservations for overnight accommodations.  Many of the hotels in the area offer free shuttle services to and from the park, so ask your hotel concierge.  The onsite LEGOLAND Hotel recently opened and is offering some great deals.
  • If you are driving to the park, parking costs $14.00, but you can save $2.00 if you order your parking pass online
  • For information about park attractions, show schedules, food, height restrictions, or accommodations for persons with disabilities visit
  • Please share photos of your LEGOLAND experience on social media using #4Heverywhere


CERT helps 4-Hers Learn Citizenship and Workforce Skills

4-H Teens learn how to respond to emergencies as well as careers related to emergency management and safety through the CERT program.  Leon County Extension photo.

4-H Teens learn how to respond to emergencies as well as careers related to emergency management and safety through the CERT program. Leon County Extension photo.

It’s mid-summertime. Tourists are flocking to beaches like seagulls to bread. Summer camps and in full swing and so are daily afternoon thunderstorms. In Florida, torrential rain, lightening, and thunderstorms are so common place they often aren’t treated with due respect. However, one group of 4-H teens and adult volunteers in Leon County have been working with disaster preparedness for six years and understands just how quickly Mother Nature can turn from beautiful to dangerous.

The Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a unique organization that teaches participants leadership, readiness and response skills. Teens recognize hazards, man-made or natural, in order to prevent a possible disaster. Teens participating in the program are trained to safely respond to an emergency and assist victims without endangering themselves. Examples of what youth learn are:

  • extinguishing small fires
  • conducting light search and rescue
  • setting up medical treatment areas
  • assisting emergency responders

Members of the Leon County 4-H Teen CERT Club have been actively involved in natural disaster preparedness for four years. While not all members are official teen CERT members, all youth are active in learning about disasters and how to be the most prepared. Members are actively engaged in their community – passing out literature on disaster preparedness. In addition, members of 4-H Teen CERT participate in an annual first responder training exercise held at the Tallahassee Regional Airport. Our youth pose as victims of a disaster and are given the opportunity to interact with working first responders. This opportunity allows youth to interact with professionals in the field as well as understand the details that go in planning and preparing for emergency situations.CERT also teaches youth leadership and communication skills.

Teen CERT has been a wonderful addition to the Leon County 4-H program. Adults and youth who participate are more aware of situations that could potentially pose harm to members and bystanders. Youth are always quick to help adults remember the first aid kit and are always willing to lend and extra hand. In addition to training youth who are ready and able to respond, CERT has trained leaders who give back to their club and organization!

For more information about Teen CERT, please visit:

UF IFAS Disaster and Recovery information (includes a homeowner handbook and hurricane preparedness for homeowners and ag producers)

Want to help youth in your community learn how to respond to emergencies or about careers related to community safety?  If you would like to start a 4-H Teen CERT club, or serve as a speaker or project leader for 4-H disaster preparedness programs, please contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office or visit