How do you survive when the heat is on? I’m talking about coping with summer’s heat. That’s the topic of DestinySurvival Radio as we discover how to keep cool in hot weather with advice from Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy.
Extreme heat is a real killer, and it will be all the more so if major storms or an E M P knock out the power grid. We’ve gotten used to living with air conditioning in the U.S. Can you imagine Arizona or Florida without it?
If you’re middle-aged or older, chances are you grew up without air conditioning at home. It was a luxury, especially if you lived in the country. But how many of us could cope without it today?
My Hot Show Guests
Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy (Joe and Amy Alton) are a hot commodity these days. Maybe you’ve seen them at a prepper show or expo. They do plenty of traveling and have a lot of projects going.
They’ve been my DestinySurvival Radio guests several times before, and I’m glad I was able to have them back. In case you’re not familiar with who they are, here’s a little info gleaned from DoomAndBloom.net.
Joe Alton, M.D., also known as Dr. Bones, is an M.D. and fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American College of OB/GYN. Amy Alton, A.R.N.P., also known as Nurse Amy, is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. You can find their full credentials on their Web site.
Together, Joe and Amy are the authors of the Number One Amazon bestseller in Survival Skills and Safety/First Aid, The Survival Medicine Handbook. They’re also well known speakers, podcasters, and YouTubers, as well as contributors to leading survival and homesteading magazines. You’ll find hundreds of posts on medical preparedness on their site.
Their mission is to put a medically prepared person in every family for disaster situations.
The opinions voiced by Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy are for post-apocalyptic settings only. In normal times, they urge you and me to seek modern and standard medical care from qualified professionals.
I appreciate the time they took to do another show with me because they’re busy as beavers. Dr. Bones did most of the talking because, once the discussion got going, Amy needed to attend to other matters, so she deferred to the good doctor’s expertise on our topic.
Those “Bad Bugs”
We started with a brief off-topic discussion. I was curious to see why Dr. Bones takes credit for curing Ebola. (Hint: This is just for fun, but it has to do with The Ebola Survival Handbook.)
Then we got serious and talked about the possible threat of an epidemic. How real is it? After all, the swine flu a few years ago fizzled. The Ebola scare eventually wound down, too. What about MERS?
Take a Swig of Colored Sweat?
I asked Dr. Bones how you and I can know when we’re over heated. That may seem like a stupid question at first. But not really because the heat can sneak up on you. It’s hardest on children and the elderly.
If you’re outdoors working or playing, you may not be aware of how much fluid you’re losing by sweating. You’re losing electrolytes, which are essential for bodily functions.
Sports drinks were created to replace those electrolytes. Dr. Bones says drinking them is like drinking colored sweat.
I’m sure you’ll never see your favorite sports drink in quite the same way now. But you do need electrolyte replacement when it’s hot.
Drinking soda pop or tea with caffeine can aggravate dehydration because you’ll urinate more. Avoid alcohol as well.
Don’t guzzle your drink when you’re trying to cool down. Sip if you feel nauseated due to heat exhaustion. Otherwise, try to drink often to keep hydrated.
If you lose as little as 2-3% of your body’s water content, you’ll be sufficiently dehydrated to begin having mental issues. You may lose concentration, become irritable and anxious. You may develop mood swings and become delerious.
That should be enough motivation to keep hydrated. You want that glorious survival tool between your ears to be working at its best.
Symptoms to Watch For
If you get over heated, you could experience muscle cramps or even faint. Your body’s core temperature rises when you suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
If you’re experiencing heat exhaustion, you’ll sweat. If it’s heat stroke, you won’t. Either way, be on the alert if you experience nausea, a headache, confusion and weakness. You’ll lose consciousness and experience more severe symptoms with a heat stroke.
If someone’s having heat stroke, get him or her out of the sun. Remove clothing and spray the person with cool water. Apply moist, cool compresses to the neck, armpits and groin area to facilitate cooling.
There’s Hot, and Then There’s Hot!
Maybe you’ve heard dry heat in the desert is better than humid heat. Well, maybe not. Whether the heat is humid or desert dry, there’s still danger if you’re not prepared. You have to be careful not to become ill or even die.
Heat Is Its Own Natural Disaster
A heatwave is its own kind of natural disaster. According to Dr. Bones, from 1970 to 2012, more people died from heat than from hurricanes and tornadoes combined. This isn’t something we normally hear about from the media, but that doesn’t make heat any less of a threat.
Back in 2003 during a heatwave in Europe, 71,000 people died. A recent heatwave in India claimed more than 2,000 lives. If we’re subjected to a heatwave in the U.S. at a time when there’s no air conditioning, do you think we’ll fare any better?
Meanwhile, pay attention this summer to heat advisories and warnings issued by your local NOAA weather station.
Take It Off, Baby!
What if you just can’t get enough air when it’s hot? You may have that trouble now, especially if you have asthma. But the problem will be compounded if there’s no electricity to run a fan.
Here are some things to try. It makes sense to wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. Wear a bandana soaked with water. Towel off to keep cool.
Drink plenty before you start working or exercising outside. Then take plenty of breaks to drink more. Stay hydrated.
Beat the Clock
Change your schedule. Do outdoor activities in the morning before it gets hot, or do them in the evening. Rest during the heat in the middle of the day.
The key here is to be aware of your circumstances and what your body can handle. Don’t push it. Don’t over exert yourself when it’s hot.
Starve to Be Cool?
I don’t know about you, but when it’s hot, I’m inclined to eat less. Should you do that, too?
Dr. Bones doesn’t recommend changing diet. The most important thing is to drink plenty of fluids. Be sure you’re keeping up your electrolytes and taking in the minerals they contain.
It’s Not in the Wrist
As we were talking about tips and tricks for staying cool, I mentioned running cool water over your wrists. But Dr. Bones had a better idea.
While there are blood vessels close to the skin at our wrists, it’s wiser to bring the coolness from cool compresses to the neck, armpits and groin area, as mentioned above, because the veins are larger there and will transport cooling to the rest of the body faster.
Keep a Cool Mind?
Anything you can do to enhance the perception of coolness is good. For example, peppermint scent may make you think cool thoughts. Dr. Bones mentioned his grandmother kept fresh flowers in her home to create a pleasant summer atmosphere.
A Big Word to Know
Hyperthermia is the spectrum of illness that can occur as a result of hot weather. It’s preventable if you prepare, even in a grid-down situation.
Sit back with a tall, cool glass of lemonade, and let’s survive the heat together with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy. Listen to DestinySurvival Radio for June 25, 2015. (Right click to download.) You’ll get much more than what I’ve been able to share in this post.
Get even more info from…
- An online article by Dr. Bones called Heat-Related Emergencies
- An article by Dr. Bones in the July/August 2015 issue of “Backwoods Home Magazine” called Dealing with Heat Stress
- And info in The Survival Medicine Handbook.
The Alton’s Web site is DoomAndBloom.net. Find medical kits and supplies, including Nurse Amy’s Pandemic Kit at their Doom and Bloom Store. To check out their Doom and Bloom Survival! board game, go to SurvivalBoardGame.com.
From the DestinySurvival Archives
View posts I’ve published previously on surviving summer’s heat. Each link opens in a new window so you can come back to this page to view the other llinked articles. As it happens, the first link is to an article contributed by Dr. Bones.