In a crisis situation there’s a good chance the grid is going to be down. The refrigerator and air conditioning will not be working and excessive heat can be dangerous for the elderly, the very young and for many with chronic medical conditions. Here’s 12 ways to keep your cool when the temperature soars.
- If you have an attic or loft open the hatch/door to allow the hot air to keep on rising rather than staying in the areas you use more often.
- Just as we advise people to stay warm in one room in very cold weather if you have a room that’s cooler than all the rest use it in preference to the other rooms in the house.
- Put your hands into a bowl of cold water. Your hands have a large surface area and the blood vessels at the wrist are near the surface. Putting your hands into a bowl of cool water will chill the blood a little as it passes through and help keep your temperature within normal limits. Dipping your feet into cool water has the same effect.
- On the same theme a cool cloth on the back of your neck will make you feel much cooler almost instantly.
- Use natural cotton bedding if you have it, it will soak up sweat much more effectively than synthetics and will save that slick clammy feeling on humid nights.
- If you are really struggling at night wet your hair. You will feel much cooler and the water evaporating will cool you down even more.
- Draw the curtains on the sunny side of the house before the room heats up. Open those and close others as the sun moves during the day.
- Establish which windows provide the best airflow through the house. Depending on where your walls and doors are you can often get a decent flow of cooler air by opening certain windows. Biggest is not always best where windows are concerned.
- Don’t have a cold shower. Immersion in cold water will shut down the blood flow to the skin and trap the heat inside you. Tepid bathing is far better as the blood keeps flowing cooling as it nears the skin taking that cooled blood around your body which in turn makes life more comfortable.
- Loose clothing is a must. Tight clothing prevents the evaporation of sweat and it’s evaporation that makes you feel cooler. Loose cotton clothing is better still.
- Eat spicy food. This may sound odd but spicy foods contain capsaicin which makes you sweat, and as I said it’s sweat evaporating that causes heat loss and cools you down.
- Dampen your clothes. The heat of your body will dry the clothes and it’s this heat exchange that produces the cooling effect.
Remember that once you start to feel thirsty you are starting to dehydrate. Ensure adequate fluid intake during hot weather. Heat stroke kills fast and the death toll soars during heat waves.
Going swimming was not included because to be honest, in a crisis the last thing on my mind would be taking off to the beach.
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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.
Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.