Staying Healthy When The Heat Is On…And The Power Is Off!
Since last Friday, my area has been hit pretty hard with extreme heat waves and severe winds and thunderstorms. Naturally, Mother Nature’s cranky mood led to ongoing power outages, which led to little relief from the humidity and high temperatures, a lot of spoiled food, heat-related health problems, and…
…our own cranky moods.
This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with a long-term power outage – not by a long shot. However, it might be the first time I’ve dealt with one while simultaneously dealing with unrelenting temperatures and hostile weather conditions.
Needless to say, I learned a lot about staying healthy when the heat is on (and the power is off), and I thought – now that my power’s back! – I’d share them with you.
1. Stay hydrated.
Aside from making you incredibly thirsty, dehydration leads to all sorts of health problems including heat injuries like cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat strokes; brain swelling; seizures; low blood volume shock (or hypovolemic shock); kidney failure; coma; and death.
2. Cool down.
Unless you have a well with an electric pump, chances are you can still get cold water from your tap. Soak a washcloth in cold water and keep it on your neck, cheeks, forehead, and anywhere else you feel hot.
3. Dress properly.
Wear light, loose-fitting clothes. Wear as little as possible if your living situation allows for it.
4. Do NOT exert yourself.
Now is NOT the time to stay faithful to your workout routine. You have no electricity, which means you have no means of cooling down. I wouldn’t even suggest yoga. Unless your local YMCA has power and you can hang out there until you’re rested, skip the exercise until the power’s back on.
Reading is a great way to avoid physical exertion while keeping your mind occupied and warding off boredom (and, consequently, stress).
Physical exercise isn’t the only way we keep our minds and bodies healthy. Meditation can help you focus, relax, and beat stress.
7. Spend some time apart.
If you live with others – family, a significant other, a roommate or two – spend some time away from these people. Extreme heat puts people in foul moods, and constantly being in each others’ faces can lead to short tempers, fights, and other stress.
8. Toss the perishables.
I went grocery shopping three hours before the power went out. Spinach, yogurt, broccoli – all of it wilted or otherwise ruined. Sure, tossing it pained my bank account, but the health risks would’ve hurt more.
9. Don’t panic.
Unless you’ve experienced this before, you wouldn’t believe how many people flock to fill their gas tanks, buy generators, and look for battery-operated fans. Meanwhile, it sounded like the apocalypse outside with all the police sirens, ambulances, and firetrucks flying past my window to clean up car wrecks and house fires because people panicked and didn’t do, well, anything properly.
Look, power outages suck. Toss in 100+ temperatures, and it’s the suckiest suckage. Still, try not to panic. Devise a plan for whatever you need to do/purchase, calmly execute it, stay alert for others on the roads, and for the love of Pete, if you’re going to use a generator, make sure you learn how to use a generator.
How about you? Have you ever experienced a long-term power outage in the dead of summer? What tips can you share?
Sparks, A. (2012). Staying Healthy When The Heat Is On…And The Power Is Off!. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 30, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/your-mind/2012/07/staying-healthy-when-the-heat-is-on-and-the-power-is-off/