It’s the Heat, Not the Humidity: Surviving the Heat Wave, 2012

As temperatures hover around and above 100 degrees, citizens of states from North Carolina to New Jersey, and as far west as Illinois, are dealing with power outages and worse. Employees are forced to drive on roads with darkened traffic lights, the heat is felling trees that crash through ceilings, and power lines are repeatedly downed. There is no promise of power for the next few days, and people are struggling without air conditioning and power for their refrigerators. Conditions are dangerous.

Without power, it can be difficult to survive a heat wave. However, there are several things you can do to cut down on heat exhaustion and more hazardous conditions like stroke that are simple, energy efficient, and effective.

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Photo Credits: SashaW
At the Most Basic:
When your power cuts out, there are simple ways to stay cool and keep your body temperature down as much as you can.

First, move to a lower floor. Heat rises, and the upper stories of your home, apartment, or other dwelling will be significantly hotter than the lower floors. If you have a basement, spend as much time down there as you can. Set up makeshift beds, and move all carpets out of the way if you can.

Then, harness the cooling power of water. Your water should still be running during a heat storm, even if the power is out. Collect all the big buckets in your house, or go out and purchase a few, and fill them with cold water. In the heat of the day, dip your hands and feet into them to cool off.

You can also soak a bandana or washcloth in the cold water and lay it across your forehead, the back of your neck, and your collarbones. This is the same method your mother may have used to bring down a childhood fever. Filing a spritzer bottle will also provide a cooling mist during the day.

Diet-Wise: There are certain things you can do regarding food and fluid intake to cool yourself, and make sure you keep cool.

Drink plenty of fluids. This common sense tip is often ignored, but drinking enough water keeps you hydrated and healthy. Drink more than you think you need, you have to replace what you sweat out. Drinks like Gatorade are also a great way to replace the salts and minerals lost by sweating.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These things act as diuretics, and can leech important hydration from your body. This will cause you to feel weak and dizzy, some of the first signs of heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Eat smaller, lighter meals. Eating heavy meals will cause your body to work harder to process and digest. Your metabolism will rise, and you will feel overheated. In order to help keep your body temperature down, eating meals like fruit salads and healthy snacks rather than big meals will be a better choice than eating calorie-rich meals.

Keep Up Your Home: Under heat stress, it is of vital importance to make sure your home is in tiptop condition. It is only when your home is strong that you can weather the weather.

Weatherproof your windows and doors. Your windows and doors let in so much more heat than you would think. It is therefore important to weather-strip your doors and windowsills. This will keep as much cool air in as possible.

Cover your windows. Covering your windows means that heat and sun will stay out of your house, ensuring that you stay cooler. You can put in temporary window reflectors, between the windows themselves and your drapes. These include aluminum foil-covered cardboard, something simple and that nearly all people have in their homes. Reflectors will reflect the heat back outside.

Make sure your home is up to date in repairs. This goes for any construction you are undergoing, and any kind of renovation. There have been reports of downed trees all over the east coast and Midwest, and several people have died because of trees falling onto their roofs, especially in populated areas. Roofing in Montgomery County, Baltimore, Washington DC, and other major areas across 11 states is at a frantic high. Repairs have to be done because of the risk exposure poses. Make sure your home is completely repaired as soon as possible, to minimize your risks.

Remember your pets: Human beings are not the only ones who feel the effects of heat stress. It is important to know the signs of it in your beloved pets.

Recognize the signs of heat stress and stroke. These include rapid panting, wide eyes, hot skin, vomiting, twitching muscles, lots of drooling, and a dazed look. These could indicate that your pet is suffering from heat stroke.

Prevent heat stress. You can do this by giving them a cool bath or shower. Some people fill a baby pool with cool water in their yards under some shade. A cool towel to lay on can work wonders as well. Refill their water bowls as much as possible, and put ice cubes in with the water as long as you have ice.

All these tips will help you survive the great heat stroke of 2012. The hot weather is said to continue through the Fourth of July holiday, and those without power may not have power until well after that. Following these instruction will help you stay cool and get through the heat storm in an efficient manner.

Sara Stricker  is part of a team of dedicated writers who contribute hundreds of articles to blogs and sites. Follow her @StrickerSara for more articles.


  1. Muffins Alejo says:

    Thanks for writing that eating habits play a role in preventing heat strokes. It does really make sense to eat smaller & lighter meals. Now I know why I feel so hot even more after heating a heavy meal. Will share this post to my family!

  2. Klarisse Jane Hornada says:

    The weather these days is very unpredictable. One minute, it’s raining. . . a few minutes later, it’s hot as hell. This article was a big help since it guides you on how to beat the heat and avoid any impending consequences that comes with it.

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