Coping: Prepping for Heat Stroke

OK, I know we already talked about the hot weather once this week, but here comes another dose of it today, especially in the Central and East Texas areas. But the reason I mention this now is that as summer comes, it’s good to be ready for excessive heat, especially if the warming is as bad as it could be.

Your personal alert should be sounding on a regular basis from a number of sources. For one, if you don’t have a NOAA Weather Radio on most of the year, regardless of where you live, that is probably a bad move.

The NOAA Weather Radio is actually called NOAA All-Hazards Radio, and with that comes everything from kidnapping to earthquake, to terrorism response to…oh, yeah, the weather.

As for what today started to shape up as, it was clear by mid-day Thursday when this hit the government’s weather site:

“Heat Advisory

Jun. 16, 2016 – National Weather Service

… Heat advisory remains in effect until 8 PM CDT Friday…

* temperatures… high temperatures will reach the middle and upper

90s with afternoon heat index values between 103 and 108.

* Impacts… heat exhaustion or heat stroke can quickly occur to anyone working or participating in outdoor activities.

Precautionary/preparedness actions…

A heat advisory means that afternoon heat index values are expected to meet or exceed 105 degrees for at least two consecutive days.

Be sure to check on persons with health problems and the elderly… as they are the most susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Never leave Young children or pets in an enclosed

vehicle… even for a short time… as temperatures can quickly rise to life threatening levels.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible… reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water.”

So far it sounds partly emergent threat but also kinda routine.

But remembering I haven’t brushed up on heat-stroke for a while, I decided to check out symptoms:

High body temperature. A body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke.

This one is a bit problematic: It assumes you have a way to check body temperature handy. Bet on the side says in your car, there’s no electronic thermometer. Not that it is a necessity, but if I were traveling – and unlike past years – I might actually get an electronic thermometer for the car.

The reason is simple: When you are traveling long distances (as we usually do) it is a long ways from nowhere out in the middle of rural Utah. Since people seem reluctant to help on major freeways, a car problem could become a health problem inb short order.

•Altered mental state or behavior. …

If you read UrbanSurvival, you know we’ve been on the verge of this symptom for almost 20-years now. Hell ofr a thing, ain’t it?

•Alteration in sweating. …

This one is pretty simple: I don’t like to sweat. Elaine is only interested in “glowing” a bit – and then only when it’s early morning hours and she’s out on her walking excerciser. We don’t do much sweat so this one is easy enough.

Even in the car, dead heat of summer, we set the a/c on about 73. And yes, we have the a/c seats, too – highly recommended when you get a new car.

•Nausea and vomiting. …

This can occur listening to a press conference of Fearless Leader, a certain replacement candidate, or just looking at our trading account – depending on what the market is doing. (See the related Quadruple Witching note which should be above this around 8 AM Central Time).

Point is that when you are traveling, it’s hard to sort out whether a bout of nausea is caused by bad food…vomiting is also problematic…because we have to eat when we travel. Consequently, we’re somewhat particular about what and where we eat when traveling. For breakfast, we stick to the basics – eggs, meat, coffee, a few ‘taters and a slug of coffee. Lunch is usually at a truck stop – and we’ve become quite fond of the Pilot and Love’s truck stops. If you can hold on until 1 PM local time, any food that was sitting around before lunch has likiely been taken by others, so that may reduce one risk. A second one is to ask the attendant, especially if you like the pizza and aren’t sure how fresh it is. Usually, the counter help will give you an idea of when it came out of the oven.

One more thing: We try not to drink anything but bottled water when traveling. Not that it is perfect, but bottled water is usually treated with ozone which kills most viruses. Local water from a drinking fountain – even through it appeals to the Scottish ancestry is a higher risk if you are a ways out of town.

Elaine is always talking about “trying new places” that aren’t part of chains, but I am willing to each some Churches or Popeye’s Chicken before I’d venture into a quaint local place. We carry Imodium, just in case, though.

•Flushed skin. …

This one is easy for me: Over 80F my heritage turns me an unmistakable bright red. Captain Lobstah-Boy was the nickname on the local waterfronts out West. Elaine’s prone to something called Renaud’s syndrome, so her fingers turn white in color below 70F, or so. At 90 and above, she’s just beginning to thaw.

•Rapid breathing. …

Again, this would be a sure sign for me, but not her. She works out regularly. I watch with admiration.

•Racing heart rate. …

Both of us seem to have good tickers. My resting/working at the computer heart rate is about 56, though it may jump above 100 if nearly run off the road by a crazy person. Elaine’s heart beats faster than mine, so racing might work for her.


I am one…so this might not work too well… Elaine never gets them…but we have both had muscle cramps from not enough salt, so don’t skimp on the pickles or salty cheese on the pizza.

A coupe of things we have learned from flying the airplane in miserably hot conditions, some of which apply in the car:

· Wear light clothing even if the car has a/c.

This sounds common-sensical, but an amazing number of our countrymen (and women) are stupid (or fashion conscious). My standard summer attire is a paid of cut-off in some ugly light color and a short-sleeve button down collar white shift.. Elaine wears light, too.

We always care a ton of water (airplane or car) and in the airplane – even though it takes a while to climb to such lofty heights, the ambient air temp drops about 3.5 degrees per thousand feet. So even if it is 100F down on the ground in West Texas, by the time you get to altitude you may be down to 87, or so inside.

For this occasion, we carry a big plastic one-quart spray bottle. Filled from the never-ending supply of bottled water, the pilot and copilot use the sprayer to get fairly soaked from the waist up.

From there, we get about 15 and sometimes 20 minutes of flying done with the air ducts open before we’re both totally dried out again and it’s time to repeat the dance.

· Ensure pets have a cool place to hang out.

Zeus the Cat being pure black, is rather unfortunate. Nevertheless, he has found several places under the decks where the ground is still chilled from the past heating season. Come later in the summer, we will turn on the misters that live between the house and shop.

Live between the house and shop. Zeus then spends most of August trying to find the ideal spot that was wet yesterday, is still cool today, but doesn’t get the wind such that it gets water on him.

By the first of September, he’ll give up on staying dry and accept being a bit damp is not all that bad a thing.

There are lots of other ways to keep cool. At one airplane flying, or other, we picked up some microfiber neck coolers. Basically nothing more than a wash-cloth that you soak and place around your neck. We haven’t tried them, but they look promising.

There are some purpose built airplane cooling systems that can plug into the plane’s electrical system. Sort of like a big ice chest, it blows hot air in and sends blissfully cool air out.

The only problem with it is a) it takes up space, b) it has a fair bit of weight associated with it and c) the airplane is not a high performance climber when the weather is hot. Other than that, my recent eye issues, and the fact that the airplane is still in annual inspection and my new glasses to get legal are all three weeks out, and by then we’re halfway through Hell Months this cabin cooler also puts a decent bite on any remaining wallet contents.

I assume you have enough brains NOT to bring an animal to the store in the summer, or, if you do, you have enough sense to dummy up some service animal paperwork like one person I know does, so the family poochie can come in the store and chill. (“That? That’s a dachshund…service animal for my PTSD…”)

No, I do not sanction such things, I only report them.

So there you have it: A bit of discussion of summer heat…a column which I will duly remind you of in January when we’re all bitching about how cold it is.  Global warming, indeed.

Off to work on a Peoplenomics piece on how government is becoming a bigger and bigger partner in your life all the time…and not so silently, either…

Come on back Monday (or sooner if you subscribe to and feel free to drop in a comment on whatever’s on your mind and write when you get rich…

24 thoughts on “Coping: Prepping for Heat Stroke”

  1. Frogg Toggs chilly towels!

    The higher the humidity the less effective they are — but still useful.

    The AC in my old car died and I now only go out shopping in the mornings in summer. I carry a heat emergency lunch cooler bag with me. It contains a Frogg Toggs chilly towel — damp in a zip-loc, a bottle of ice water, a battery operated mister fan, a blue ice block, and a sports ice gel pack.

    The Frogg Toggs cooling products feel like a light weight leather when wet, and dry stiff as a board. Best to keep them either in the fridge, or fold and allow to dry in a shape small enough to fit in the sink for re-wetting.

    The cooling power of these towels with a slight breeze is really amazing. I keep fans going in the house and use these on myself and my dog to minimize the use of AC. I would really, really like to put my AC down to the temps you mention, but the budget won’t stand it.

    • Had one of those cooling towels that dry hard as a board until I picked up a nice one at Bed, Bath and Beyond that stays soft.

  2. Up here in Tulsa, we are in Hell with y’all. I and my fur babies are staying indoors 24/7 with minor exceptions of dumping trash and collecting mail. I have hated summer all my life.

    I do a reverse Eskimo thing. I “hibernate” in summer, and play outdoors from mid autumn to early spring. If I could afford it, I would be a nomad and spend summer in the Canadian Rockies or Maine, and winter in New Mexico.

  3. Had a heat wave and broken ac some years back: solved it with a “reverse” hot bottle.Use gatorade/sports drink bottle or 2 litter pop bottle. Fill with water 2/3 of way. Cap tightly, lay on side in freezer. Do this with a minimum of 3-4 bottles [to have for rotation]. When overheated, wrap one from freezer with t shirt and put next to trunk; one on each side is great. Sit and watch tv or read until normal body heat is restored. Put back in freezer.At night put in bed near you or touching you[wrapped of course]. Works/helps.

  4. Silly George!! Ozone kills ALL bacteria and viruses known. All of them. Simply add ozone until an ORP of 800 mV is achieved and the water is sterile. if the bottle says treated by ozonation, you can bet it was taken to 800 mV ORP. Some also use UV light treatment, but ozone is superior due to the fact that it will hit the bottle with a residual strong enough to sterilize the bottle as well.

    • Tell me it neutralizes the parting compound used in the plastics and lays hundred dollar bills….

      • I’m not cheerleading for drinking from plastic, or bottled water, just correcting you on your statement that ozone kills “most” viruses. I’ll stand by the 100 years of science that clearly show that ozone dissolved in water yielding an Oxidation Reduction Potential of 800 milliVolts renders that water sterile (a complete absence of viable bacteria or virus).

        Still, depending on the parting compound, it is possible for ozone to decompose it… Whether the resulting compound is safer, of equal toxicity, or even more toxic is dependent on the compound in question.

        As for laying 100 dollar bills… If it did that, I would be living on my own island at this point.

  5. We Fly a Cherokee it being a low wing we get the Greenhouse effect so when flying in the tropics or South I takeoff around three in the morning and park it around noon get a room and laze around for the heat in the afternoon, When In Mexico the law there is ALL flights during darkness is I,F,R or shoot down your choice so we have to file but it is not a problem so far.

    • I don’t know which is riskier: IFR in Mexico in a small plane or gambling on penny stocks…. but I can live through the latter…so I will avoid the ADIZ south

  6. The best thing is simply shade and air moving with the humidity we have here in the south. There is a reason in old movies paperweights were used to hold down papers indoors – the fans were running if you look at the background of the action in the movies…

  7. When working outside, wet a piece of cloth and stick it under your hat. It works miracles in keeping the body temp down.

    • Wait a minute bubba…what about the commercials that programmed us to believe the “Wet head is dead”? Did the Admen lie on that, too?

  8. Great article on heat. It was 38F last night here in rocky mountain Montana. Even when hot the humidity is about 20% so shade and a cool drink are about all I need.

  9. Day before yesterday it dumped dime-sized hail in La Pine, OR. Yesterday, there was snow in the Cascades.

  10. The West Texas heat is anything but “dry” this year but not so much that sweating doesn’t help. My manner of coping while doing fence work, windmill and what have you on the ranch is start early, work into the heat and bring at least four old bottle of GatorAde filled with ice from the freezer and one regular bottle of GatorAde of your choice. Never could stand more of the GatorAde than that during any one day. Best weight control program on the planet! I’d sell it if I could but I’d probably be turned in to the Wage and Labor Commission.

  11. Humans always carry what they call in TCM, (Traditional Chinese Medicine) an Internal Thermometer, its called ‘the tongue’. Dont have time to get into details here, but look up some youtubes on TCM tongue diagnosis. Basically, a very bright red tongue indicates severe internal/blood heat and is very dangerous indication of severe dehydration, which is more important than even body temp. although with a bright red tongue, one can expect ot have a body temp of well over 103-105*F which means that heat stroke is imminent. and emergerncy TCM for heat stroke is perform ‘guasha’ to the back of the neck. this will revive and keep alive most victims. in any case, keep doing until EMT arrives. you will not have a ‘guasha’ tool, so scrape the back of the fingernails on the back of the neck in an upwards direction from the base of the neck to just above the hairline. stop and repeat. do not just go up and down. think of scraping your fingernails on a chalkboard only going down to up instead of up and down. you want to move the ‘qi’ (energy) into the head. TCM is the best medicine in the world. only science which explains, why we scratch our skin; its to move (distribute) energy/qi at the surface…..might wanna buy one them ‘quasha’ tools…it just may save you life…useful for more than just heat exhastion, but to move energy/qi on your body…pain…injury…etc…etc

  12. The pesky viruses and such don’t live in salt water, so add a pinch of salt to make healthier water and to aid your’s body’s need, because we’re electric beings needing salt, which is alkalinizing. The low salt propaganda was meant to kill people. As to the leg cramping, most people consume an acid diet of calcium and not a 1:1 ratio of calcium and magnesium… it’s a no wonder people have brittle bones, hardening heart and leg cramps. We need magnesium for leg cramping, keeping those muscles flexible and also potassium is good as well.

    Also, people have no clue they become dehydrated if their choice of beverage is soda, coffee or alcohol… Sugar is a poison that kills on all fronts so, drinking sugared drinks (that includes fermented beverages) of any kind is what gives heart attacks not fatty foods such as butter, meat etc… A person on a diet of sugar water will die as opposed to no water.

    The bottled water of choice for me, if needed, has added electrolytes.

    We’ve already had our first alert heat index day in Minnesota… Checking on possibly dehydrated people is too late, everyone should be drinking salted water and supplementing with vital minerals – tis all about prevention with minerals (not just drinking dead water the city provides) and that is what we do when prepping.

    • I so wish writers would be more specific and include, specifically, corn syrup in their admonitions. Many people, although probably not on this site, may confusedly think ‘sugar’s out but syrup’s in’.
      If one is doing all one’s cooking at home from scratch, then I think it’s okay to take some sugar out of the sugar bowl on the kitchen table and put it in coffee, and so forth. I sometimes use two, three teaspoons in a day.

  13. Here in South Carolina been miserable for a week low 90s but with the heat index 102-107! Today we are looking @ 97-99 reg. temp with 108-112 with heat index BUT:) tomorrow am supposed to be 65 with a high in the mid 80s will feel like Alaska to us Lol, going out tonight in the dreaded heat intend to have all drinks on the rocks:)

  14. We are 4 days from the first day of winter south of the equator. We are on a trip to Cuenca this week, it was 52 degrees the first night at 9,000 feet. We were freezing, after spending the last few months at the 65-80 range.

    Back in vilcabamba a friend said it was a nice balmy 75. We’ll be there Sunday, back in paradise again.

  15. George, I mentioned the other day we are down here in Houston from North central Montana. The high temp up home today is 72 with humidity of 29%. My wife, whose idea it was to come down here now, said today, we aren’t coming down here in the summer any more. Amen to that.

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