This article was originally published by Sara Tipton at Tess Pennington’s Ready Nutrition.
Summer blackouts during heat waves could be deadly. Many people relying on air conditioners running off electricity may find themselves in intense and even deadly situations.
Experts say that the electrical power grid is strained and the United States is expected to suffer from rolling blackouts this summer.
CNN recently reported that NERC, a regulating authority that oversees the health of the nation’s electrical infrastructure, says in its 2022 Summer Reliability Assessment that extreme temperatures and ongoing drought could cause the power grid to buckle. High temperatures, the agency warns, will cause the demand for electricity to rise. Meanwhile, drought conditions will lower the amount of power available to meet that demand.
“Industry prepares its equipment and operators for challenging summer conditions. Persistent, extreme drought and its accompanying weather patterns, however, are out of the ordinary and tend to create extra stresses on electricity supply and demand,” said Mark Olson, NERC’s manager of Reliability Assessments.
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Staying cool, especially on those hot days is imperative. These are 7 very easy tips to follow this summer to keep from overheating if those temperatures begin to climb.
- Wear Light Cotton Clothing – wearing cotton clothing in light colors will help you feel much cooler. Darker synthetic fabrics tend to absorb the heat from the sun, while the light will go through lighter-colored clothes. Also, don’t wear anything tight. Loose-fitting clothes are best for the heat to allow for better airflow. Cotton also helps by absorbing perspiration. Linen or silk are also great options for staying cool. Avoid synthetic fabrics such as elastane and polyester. Synthetic fibers retain heat and will increase your body’s temperature. You should also wear a hat to help keep the direct sunlight off your face and neck.
- Stay Hydrated – Drink a lot of water. Your body gets dehydrated much more quickly during extreme heat. Sweating, the human body’s main cooling mechanism, uses your body’s water. Our perspiration does not evaporate easily when the air itself is full of moisture, so we feel hotter on humid days. Sweat also contains sodium, so make sure you are eating whole-natural foods that can help replenish your body. I don’t mean pour a bunch of salt on your lunch, just some veggies known to have a slightly higher sodium content. With 50 milligrams of sodium in both a large stock of celery and a large carrot, these vegetables provide that familiar savory flavor in soups and stews, without several pinches of salt.
- Be Flexible – You may need to alter your schedule slightly. Whenever possible, perform chores and other outside activities during the coolest part of the day. You may need to start earlier or end later, depending on when you get your cooler temperatures, but it will be well worth it. I get up before 5 am, which gives me time to do things outside if I need to before the day kicks off. If you’re more of a night owl, wait until sunset to do the bulk of your outside chores, such as weed pulling.
- Create Cross Ventilation – Keep the windows open – especially windows that are on opposite sides of the home – to create cross-breezes. Install screens on windows and doors to keep insects out. As the day heats up, shut some windows to retain some of the cooler air. This is an off-grid without an air conditioning method for survival.
- Eat lighter – There’s a reason we like to eat more fruit and salad during hot weather. They help hydrate us and keep us feeling cooler and lighter. Leafy greens, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and watermelon are about 90 percent water, so they can help keep your body cool. We actually do straight salads with hardboiled duck eggs three times a week (or more) in the summer! In this way, we are not cooking meat or roasting any veggies either, so there’s less energy use and less heat in the home, which is an added bonus to eating more salad. Also, you may want to turn up the heat – in your mouth, that is. Curries, chilies, and other spicy foods can enhance circulation and cause you to sweat, which helps to cool the body down.
- Make Small Changes To Personal Hyeine Routine – Take a cool shower. This one was hard for me because I love hot showers. But I have been loving taking a quick cool shower in the summer after doing chores outside. After the shower, let your hair air dry. Most women immediately blow their hair dry out of the shower. I have never liked drying my hair, not even in winter, so I avoid it. But the longer your hair stays wet, the longer you will have that cooling effect.
- Drink A Caffeinated Beverage- If you are a tea and coffee lover (I’m raising my hand, I absolutely love both) out there. While the time-honored advice has been to avoid caffeinated beverages when the mercury soars, that thinking has changed. Having iced beverages that contain caffeine could actually help your body regulate its temperature better. According to the Institute of Medicine, caffeinated beverages supply us with more water than their caffeine causes us to lose. So if they help you stay hydrated this summer, drink up!
Be prepared to protect your food too! With the prices surging, the supply chain continually breaking down, and inflation on the rise, it has never been more important to protect your investment. Food is going to be an asset very soon, and you don’t want it to spoil! Here are a few tips to be proactive:
- Begin using perishable foods in the freezer and refrigerator to minimize food spoilage. Also, to keep items as cool as possible during rolling blackouts, limit the number of times the refrigerator or freezer door is opened. If you are concerned that the meat may spoil, preserve it beforehand, by either the canning method or the dehydration method.
- Freeze soda bottles filled with water and when the rolling blackouts occur, place the frozen soda bottles in the refrigerator to maintain the optimum temperature.
- Close window blinds and curtains to keep the heat out.
Prepare in advance for summer blackouts and you will be ready for the worst if it happens!