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Don’t Drink Caffeine or Alcohol During Hot or Cold Weather Conditions

Don't Drink Caffeine or Alcohol During Hot or Cold Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can affect you physically. What you drink can make what you go through physically much worse - whether it’s hot or cold. One of the things that can have an impact on your health is caffeine.

While drinking beverages containing caffeine in moderation isn’t necessarily bad for you, it does cause physical changes in your body. Whenever you consume something that contains this stimulant, it makes your heart beat faster.

It also makes your blood pressure rise. You might think that’s not a big deal, but when it’s hot outside, the weather does the exact same thing to your body. When you get hot, your heart starts to beat faster and harder as it tries to keep you cool.

This can tax your cardiovascular system. When it gets cold outside, your body’s heart also beats faster and harder, because instead of trying to cool you off, it’s trying to make sure that you warm up.

Both of these effects alone are a natural part of your body’s survival mechanism. But when you add caffeine to the mix, your heart is working harder than it’s supposed to. This is why you’re more susceptible to a heat related incident if you drink things containing caffeine.

The same way that your heart is affected by caffeine also happens when you drink alcohol. These kinds of beverages make your heart rate go up and they raise your blood pressure, too.

When you factor in the cold or hot weather, it can cause health problems. Plus, caffeine acts as a diuretic. So you’re going to have urinate a lot more often than you normally would.

On a hot day, that means you’re losing hydration much faster than usual. So your odds of becoming dehydrated are greater. Sometimes people choose to drink alcohol when it’s cold out because they believe that alcohol can help them stay warm.

But the opposite is actually what happens. When you drink alcohol, it’s also a diuretic. On top of that, alcohol relaxes blood vessels. This means that your body temperature can decrease and you’re more susceptible to the colder temperatures.

You may think that by drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol that you’re keeping up with the right amount of fluid intake, but what’s happening is you’re losing fluid and your body is less aware of the impact of the temperatures - whether hot or cold.

Instead of drinking beverages with caffeine or alcohol, choose drinks that are better for your health during the hot or cold weather. When it’s cold outside, drink warm beverages such as caffeine free hot chocolate, warm milk, decaf tea, and of course water.

You still need plenty of water, even when it’s cold. During hot weather, you’ll want to drink plenty of water, even more so than in cold temperatures. The amount you need increases the more you sweat. Consume drinks such as flavored water, coconut water, sports drinks, or fruit juices. 

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Recognizing Signs of Hot and Cold Weather Illness

Recognizing Signs of Hot and Cold Weather Illness

Severe weather can come with tons of risks and hazards, mostly in the form of conditions brought on as a result of temperature. Most of these conditions and illnesses are fairly harmless if caught early, but if you persist and don’t do anything about them, they can quickly turn severe and can bring on many dangerous health hazards.

Hot weather conditions tend to be less harmful than cold weather ones, but they still pose a very real threat if ignored. The big things you need to watch out for in the extreme heat are heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and heat rash.

The least threating one is heat rash. Essentially, when some people get too hot outside, their sweat ducts clog up and they develop an itchy rash. This isn’t particularly dangerous, and it doesn’t require medical attention.

If you develop a heat rash, simply go inside and drink some cool water. It can, however, be an indicator that it’s too hot for you to be outside, so you should avoid going back out so that you can avoid heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are somewhat similar, with one being far more dangerous than the other. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention to be treated, while heat exhaustion can be taken care of by going inside, cooling off, and rehydrating.

Some of the main signs of heat exhaustion include lots of sweating, a faint feeling in your head, an upset stomach, and sometimes cramps. Heat stroke, on the other hand, involves no sweating, a harsh headache, and possible loss of consciousness.

Then, there are the cold weather conditions. There are two that you need to be careful of in most cases: hypothermia and frostbite. Both are very dangerous if unattended, and both often result from lack of proper clothing.

Early hypothermia symptoms aren’t always easy to catch. One of them is shivering, which is natural in cold weather, but you might also start to slur your words, start to feel confused or tired, and experience minor lapses in your memory.

Once it gets severe, you’ll experience poor breathing, very poor decision making skills, and no shivering. It’s crucial that hypothermia symptoms are caught early on, because once it gets severe, it can easily lead to death.

Finally, there’s frostbite. Frostbite attacks the extremities of the body, most often your fingers, toes, and nose. One of the easiest signs to spot is that your skin has a weird or unusual color.

It could become much more red, or much paler, but once it starts changing colors, you know you have to cover those body parts up. Once you catch it, warm that part of your body back up. If you caught it early enough, you’ll be fine, but if you waited a long time, there could be permanent damage and possible amputation. 

High Calorie Survival Food to Keep Up Your Energy in Any Conditions

High Calorie Survival Food to Keep Up Your Energy in Any Conditions

You have to consume a minimal amount of calories for your body on normal days. Calories are the fuel that your body runs on. When you don’t have enough calories, not only will you lack energy, but over time, this can cause you physical harm.

When there are survival situations, such as extreme cold or hot weather events, it’s even more imperative that you have plenty of high calorie foods on hand. This is because you’re going to inevitably end up burning more calories when your survival is on the line.

For example, you might not realize it, but just the act of shivering when you’re cold burns calories. When your normal way of life is disrupted, you’re probably expending more energy because you’re having to do more physically just to stay alive.

Without enough calories, you can become lethargic. While this might not be dangerous in your normal everyday life, when faced with a survival event, lethargy can be. You won’t react to dangers as quickly and you’ll have trouble thinking and concentrating without enough high calorie food to give you energy.

It might be tempting to believe that there are no right or wrong foods to have during a time of emergency, but there is. You have to have items that aren’t going to spoil easily.
You also need food that you can grab and go in the event that you have to bug out.

That means that you’ll need a lightweight food source that’s already put together. This won’t be a bunch of heavy cans that would be a burden if you have to flee. You’ll need things like survival food kits that are in lightweight packaging.

That way, you can have them packed in a bag and just grab them and go. These types of food items are measured according to caloric need, so you get your daily recommended number of calories, but you can also find high calorie ones.

They’re also easy to prepare. Most of these foods are simply made by adding hot water. Some you can eat right out of the pack without any preparation. You’ll need foods that are designed to be eaten in the event that you don’t have a heat source that you can use.

The kinds of foods that you buy should focus on proteins, fats and carbs. Protein rich foods alone won’t pack enough calories or carbs for your survival needs. You need to stock food items such as peanut butter, nuts and dried fruits.

All of these are high in calories. You’ll want also want to buy a supply of powdered milk. Look to stock up on dried foods that are starchy and high in calories such as dried potatoes.

Have brown rice and beans on your supply list. Stock survival rations that are high in carbs and calories. Have a stack of canned meat, trail mix and candy bars, too. These foods will work whether you’re at home during an energy outage or on the go.

Register with the Power Company If Your Home Requires Electricity for Medical Reasons

Register with the Power Company If Your Home Requires Electricity for Medical Reasons

For most people, when the electricity goes out, it’s more of an annoyance than anything else. It just means daily conveniences get interrupted. But for others, the concern is much heavier because of a medical condition they or someone in the family has.

Most power companies have a record of the addresses for people who have to medically rely on power. But this list isn’t something that’s automatically generated. You have to contact your power company to get put on this record.

Then when the power goes out due to rolling blackouts, those who are on this record will often get first priority for having their electricity stay on – or if it’s a crash, then getting their issue resolved.

Whenever there’s a power outage, workers will be directed to the area where you live.
But not just anyone can get on this record. Each electric company has a set of standards they use to determine who gets priority in restoring electricity.

Usually, first on the list are those who need power for critical care. These are people who much rely on machines in order to remain alive. If someone relies on a kidney dialysis machine at home, this is considered critical care according to electric companies.

People who are on oxygen machines or ventilators also qualify to go on the list to restore power first. Those who have a feeding pump and must have electricity to operate it also qualify for quicker power restoration.

CPAP machines are on the list but, there are some power companies that limit electric restoration for those using CPAP machines to infants and children since many of these machines do have a battery backup.

However, there can be a time limit to how long battery power can last, so it would still be worthwhile to get on the list if your electric company allows it. There are other reasons besides critical care that electric companies use to determine who gets power restored first.

Anyone whose health is negatively affected by loss of heat or loss of air conditioning because it can make their medical condition worse can also qualify to go on an electric company’s priority power restore list.

You can’t just reach out to your electric company and tell them that you need to go on the list, because unfortunately, there are some people who would take advantage of this who don’t really need the help.

So most electric companies do require proof of medical need. You would have to get the required forms from your power company and then take them to your health care provider.

These forms can vary, depending on what your company requires, but usually on the form, there will be a part for the doctor to fill out about medically essential electric powered device or adverse health reaction due to heat or cold from loss of power.

Cooling Off When It’s Too Hot Inside Your Home

Cooling Off When It's Too Hot Inside Your Home

Getting overheated can make you sick. It can also be dangerous if you overheat and don’t cool off. It can get too hot in your house in the event of a power outage. But sometimes, it can get too hot inside a home even when the electricity is on.

High temperatures outside can easily make it difficult for some air conditioning systems to handle the heat. But there are plenty of ways that you can cool off inside your home and some of these ways involve you using things you already have at home and don’t cost you anything.

When it’s hot inside, wet some thin sheets and put these in front of your open windows as well as in your outer doors. The dampness on the sheets help cool the air that’s circulating through your home.

If you’re finding that it’s too hot to sleep at night because your home is too hot, the damp sheet tip can also work for your bed linens. Just lightly dampen the sheets that you sleep on or cover up with and the light moisture will keep you cool.

Water is a natural cooler. Get in water by taking a cool bath or shower. You can also bring a kiddie pool indoors if the heat is dangerously hot inside your home. Keep your skin wet by applying cool, damp washcloths to your forehead, back of your neck and under your arms.

You can also spritz yourself with water from a spray bottle. If you don’t have one, flick water over yourself with your fingertips to cool off. When you have the water on your skin from whatever method that you use, get in front of an air conditioning vent, or an electric or battery operated fan.

The cool air on your damp skin can help cool you off as well as lower your body temperature. Set up fans throughout your home where they can keep a breeze going. Carry a battery operated hand fan with you so that you can keep a breeze directed at yourself.

You can also situate a fan so that it blows across a bucket or bowl of ice. This can cool you down and even cool off a small area such as a closed off room in your home. You can keep a room cool by shutting off all the other rooms you’re not using and remain as much as possible in one room.

It’s imperative that you stay hydrated. Drinking water can help cool you off. Make sure that you don’t wear clothing that traps heat. Wear loose clothing. It’s a known fact that heat rises.

So stay downstairs as much as possible and even sleep downstairs if your bedroom is on the second floor. Open up the windows to allow a breeze in at night if it’s safe for you to do so.

Avoid anything strenuous during the day, such as exercising or doing any household chores. Instead, switch anything that has the possibility of making you sweat to the night hours.

Don’t heat up your home by using your stove or oven. Choose to eat meals that you don’t have to cook instead. Unplug any appliance that generates heat, such as a computer. If it’s a light source, it’s producing heat - so keep your lights off except when it gets too dark to see in your home.

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Winter Preparations to Fortify Your Home for the Cold

Winter Preparations to Fortify Your Home for the Cold

Getting in front of a situation is always better than trying to react to adversity. By being prepared ahead of time, you can ensure that you have the supplies you need, not only to survive but to comfortably make it through the winter.

Start now to make preparations so that you can fortify your home against the cold. By doing that, not only can you cut down your heating costs, but you can have your home ready to withstand the colder temperatures in the event that the heat goes out.

Your home can have drafts that work against your heating system by allowing cold air in and letting the warm air escape. You want to make sure that you fix these drafts before the winter weather impacts your home.

The best way to fix drafts is by making sure you have good weather stripping. Check each of the outer doors and all the windows of your home. One of the main signs that you need weather stripping or to replace what you do have is to check to see if you feel a draft.

If you feel air around the frame of your doors or around the windows, then air is getting in. You might not be able to feel any air coming in, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not. You can hold a lit candle in front of each side, top and bottom of your window.

If the flame flickers, that’s a sign you have a draft. When glass panes on your windows or doors are foggy, that’s also a sign that they’re not properly sealed against the weather.

If your heating bills are suddenly higher than they have been before, that can be a sign that your home isn’t weather sealed. You can easily buy and put up weather stripping yourself to protect against drafts and help keep your home warm for the winter weather events.

You want to be able to safely use your fireplace in the winter. But you can’t just light a fire once winter hits without having prepared ahead of time. Before you light the first fire, you need to have your chimney inspected.

An inspection can prevent a fire by making sure that there’s no residue in the chimney. By cleaning out the residue if there is any, you can make sure that your home is safe from this danger.

Getting your chimney inspected and cleaned out can also help make sure that any obstructions are cleared away. Birds and even wasps sometimes build nests in chimneys.

Anything that causes a blockage in the chimney can be dangerous. Ahead of the winter weather, make sure that the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. If you haven’t replaced your batteries before cold weather hits, then go ahead and do that. After you replace the batteries, perform an alarm test on each of the detectors that you have in your home.

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Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning with Safe Heat During Winter Weather

Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning with Safe Heat During Winter Weather

When you’re in the middle of a winter weather crisis, and you don’t have any heat, you must find a way to produce that heat in order to get warm. It’s not safe to just use any type of heating that you find, because many of them come with dangerous side effects that can be harmful or fatal.

One of the side effects of using the wrong kind of heating is carbon monoxide poisoning. This is something that occurs when, instead of carrying oxygen throughout your body, your cells are filled with carbon monoxide.

When you breathe in carbon monoxide, you may not even be aware of it because it’s odorless. You can get symptoms from experiencing it, though. You may get a headache or start to feel dizzy.

Some people get confused or end up vomiting. This type of poisoning can make you feel like you have the flu. There can be multiple things that cause carbon monoxide poisoning, but it happens to you when you inhale fumes from these devices.

Certain household appliances can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home - things such as a furnace or a fireplace - even if it’s a wood burning fireplace. Your home can have a buildup of this gas from a gas stove or from a water heater.

You can also experience carbon monoxide poisoning from your vehicle. The main reason it happens is due to poor or no ventilation of an appliance or heating device. This is especially true when you’re trying to heat your home during a cold weather event.

When the electricity goes out and it gets cold inside, some people think it’s okay to bring their charcoal grill inside to heat the house. But a charcoal grill releases carbon monoxide.

One way to tell if something’s wrong is to look at the flame of whatever type of heating device you’re using. With natural gas devices, the color of the flame should be blue and not yellow or orange.

But if you’re burning fuel in a portable heating device, the flame should be yellow or orange. Always look at the device ratings. Most will have a label indicating whether or not they’re safe to use indoors and if there are any ventilation needs.

Don’t use any device that’s not rated for indoor use. It’s safe to use indoor propane appliances, alcohol heaters, solar powered heaters and vent-free heaters. You can use a wood stove or gas fireplace if either has been properly ventilated.

Because you can’t see it or smell it, you have no way to know if you’re at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is why you need to have a CO detector in your home. You should have one of these alarms on each floor of your home. These devices can sense carbon monoxide before the gas makes you ill - or worse.

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Know When to Call for Help If the Weather Conditions Have Overpowered You

Know When to Call for Help If the Weather Conditions Have Overpowered You

One of the biggest mistakes people make in emergency weather situations is not calling for help soon enough. For some reason, many people like to try to stick it out, even when they start to suffer because of it.

Some people don’t want to cause a fuss. Others want to appear tough, but regardless, when the weather starts to overpower you, you need to be able to stop and call for help. For example, in a 2021 record-low cold snap in Texas, many people were left without power in very low temperatures.

As the temperatures fell inside their houses, many people whose cars could handle the frozen roads wisely threw in the towel and made their way to heating centers, which were large building that still had electricity where families could keep warm.

Others were staying with neighbors or friends who had electricity, and were also calling each other frequently to check in on one another. However, some who remained isolated had to be hospitalized for hypothermia, with temperatures in their houses hovering around 45° F or lower.

Had these people contacted emergency services, friends and family, or attempted to move to a warming center, that could have been prevented. In simpler cases, if there’s a massive heat wave coming through and your house doesn’t have air conditioning, try to see if someone you know has a pool or an air conditioned house you can hang out at.

Massive heat isn’t too dangerous for those inside, but it can become wildly uncomfortable. For those with small children, it can actually start to become dangerous if they begin to suffer from heat exhaustion.

This can also apply to severe weather such as storms, especially those that are capable of developing tornados. Tornados are certainly nothing to toy around with, so if you don’t have a good shelter in your house, you might want to consider waiting the storm out at an acquaintance’s home that does have one.

There’s nothing you can do to stop a tornado from damaging your home, whether you’re there or not, so you might as well avoid injury at the same time. Even if you can’t go stay with someone else at their house, they might be able to bring you some much needed supplies, such as a box fan for a heat wave or a space heater for a cold snap.

Don’t hesitate to rely on the generosity of others a little bit, especially in a dire situation. You want to educate yourself about off-the-grid living in case it takes days to regain your electricity. 

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Cold Weather DIY Heat and Light Sources

Cold Weather DIY Heat and Light Sources

Dual function is something you’ll want to consider as part of your emergency preparation plan. While many people are fully prepared in the event of a cold weather situation and they need heat and light, it can be easy to get caught off-guard.

You might be in a situation where you need heat and light but you don’t have the supplies and you can’t get out to get them. If that’s the case, there are still ways that you can use what you have at home to get through the event until life returns to normal.

If you try to burn your flashlight at night in order to have light in your home, there’s the risk that the batteries might not last as long as you need them to if you don’t have solar power or rechargeable batteries.

You can turn to your pantry to find a solution. One way to have both a heat and a light source is by using your container of Crisco. You can use the shortening to quickly make a candle.

You can place a candle wick in the center of the Crisco if you have one in your supply closet. If you don’t, you can still make this type of candle without a wick. You can use something like twine or string as the wick.

You can also use a small piece of tightly rolled paper towel or even a toothpick as a wick. Once you light it, the wick will burn the Crisco for days on end, giving you both light and heat.

Another option that you can use is something that you probably already have plenty of in your home. You can use Crayola crayons to make candles that will give off both heat and light.

What you have to keep in mind when using these is that when used individually, the crayons tend to burn out within about 15 minutes. But if you mix them with regular wax, it extends the burning life.

You can heat the bottom of the crayon with a flame and the hot wax on the bottom can then be used to stick the crayon in an upright position. Hold a flame over the top of the crayon until it lights, and it’ll burn steadily once it’s lit.

Terra cotta planter heaters - also known as flower pot heaters - are another option to give you both a heat and a light source. You’ll need something like tea light candles. These are inexpensive to purchase.

You can usually find a 100 of them by the bag for less than $5. Place these tea lights on a clay planter base. Secure the planter upside down over the tea lights. Don’t fully cover the lights with the planter.

You want it on a raised platform so you can see the candles. You can create this raised platform by using rocks, bricks or something else that won’t burn. This creates a heater effect.

While it won’t make the room you use it in comfortable enough to wear short sleeves in the cold, it’ll keep the worst of the cold temperature at bay. If the power grid ever goes down and leaves you freezing, you’ll be happy to have a few methods to warm yourself and your food and drinks up.

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