Summer Safety: How To Avoid and Prevent Heat Injury and Dehydration

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Now with summer rapidly approaching and temperatures starting to rise all over the U.S., it is important to cover some information that is pertinent to your activities. Certain very physical occupations and activities require more activity in the direct heat, as well as the need to consume more water. Even if you work in an office, or if you have a moderately physically demanding job, don’t take the heat lightly and practice heat safety when needed: it is easy to allow yourself to become dehydrated.

First, let’s repeat what we’ve covered in other articles. Thirst is actually a late sign of dehydration. What this means is that your body becomes dehydrated before thirst kicks in and prompts you to drink. Another problem is with osmoreceptors. Without delving too deeply and allowing confusion, these osmoreceptors in your brain help to regulate the concentration of your bloodstream, an area you can’t just “dump” water into to replace without affecting blood concentrations and components.

For this reason, it is important to follow preventative measures by drinking water regularly before an incident occurs. The osmoreceptors will prompt you (along with a feeling of fullness) not to drink any more until your bloodstream is balanced.  It is for this reason that IV solutions are isotonic…that is, compatible with your bloodstream and body chemistry.  I detailed in articles past that you can purchase isotonic packets that are very beneficial and easy to use.

Trace Minerals Research is the type that I use. The packets are 0.18 oz/5 grams. They are for the replacement of electrolytes, with Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium being among them. These packets are akin to powdered gold, and they can really be useful after you’ve had a grueling workout or a hard shift at work to replace the electrolytes you lost along with the fluid.

The best time for physical exercise is usually during the peak performance hours of 3 to 4 pm; however, this changes in the summer months. I recommend working out in either the early morning an hour or more before sunrise, or in the evening at about 6 pm to avoid the heat of the day. Wherever you travel, it is important that you take a good water supply. During the summertime, you should be drinking (on average) a gallon of water per day, and for jobs and actions with a lot of physical labor, even more.

Cold water will help bring your core temperature down if you become overheated. Avoid cold fruit juices, as these have a lot of sugar in them (whether from natural or processed sources) and will deplete your hydration levels. The sugar works from a reverse osmotic angle and draws water out of your system in order to help you process the juice. Water or an isotonic solution, such as an ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) is your best bet. The sports drinks have a ton of sugar in them and a bunch of different chemicals that you may not want.

Make your own ORS solution with a 32-ounce bottle. Fill it up with water and add ½ tsp. of salt and 1 tablespoon of honey or raw, unprocessed sugar, or use some of these ORS powder recipes. This amount will not be enough to detract from the solution’s isotonicity, and it will give you a few calories if you’re energy-depleted. Food intake is also critical to prevent dehydration. The nightly meal is an important one. I have emphasized in the past to take a good protein shake before you go to bed. This will be a “booster” for your training, as well as replenishing and creating stores while you sleep…the process where your metabolism slows down and you have more of the benefits from the shake. Those shakes also have electrolytes. You’ll give yourself an edge even before you awaken and start the next day.

Before you start your strenuous activities in a workout or on the job, hydrate up and drink about a half a quart to a quart of water before you begin. The cold water will cool you down if you’re overheating, but the best way to drink water under normal circumstances is at room temperature. Your body receives less of a shock when you take it in, as it is closer to your own body temperature. Hydration is hydration, plain and simple, and the water does not need to be cold to be taken in. It is partially a matter of preference.

You can measure your body’s balance by your output, as well. Dark or extremely-yellow urine is a very reliable sign. The darker your urine (not considering underlying health conditions or medications), the more water your body needs. It is trying to retain water and excreting urine that is dark with a lot of filtrates and less actual water in it. Dark urine is a sign that you need to drink water as soon as possible. Another thing is skin turgidity. The skin on the back of your hands is elastic. If you pull up on it and it returns to normal immediately, that’s good. If it kind of “withers” and “shrivels,” taking a second or two to return to normal? This is a sign that you are dehydrated.

Other signs are aching teeth, a thready, rapid pulse, a headache, and visual disturbances, such as blurriness or inability to focus properly. On these, you’ll do better to down one of those electrolyte packets we covered, as well as increase the intake of water. Eat well-rounded and regular meals. Not only do you obtain some water in your food, but the foods contain salts, electrolytes, and other essential vitamins and minerals that help you maintain a healthy fluid balance. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in this case. Prevent dehydration by taking these steps and enjoy your summer…the safe way.  JJ out!

National Environment Public Health Tracking Network

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Conquer Hygiene and Hydration as the Flood Waters Rise

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Conquer Hygiene and Hydration as the Flood Waters Rise The average person is going through a real life changing situation if they are hit by a serious hurricane. Even flooding rains can melt your psyche into jelly. I sometimes forget that the rest of the world is not immersed in natural disaster all the time …

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Heat Exhaustion – The #1 Threat to Summertime Gardeners

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Avoid Heat Exhaustion on the Homestead

My husband and I admit to being weekend warriors when it comes to our new project – creating our homestead in Florida. Our normal work in summer involves sitting in front of a computer in an air conditioned room for most of the day.

One recent Sunday morning we headed out to our property, hoping to get some yard clean-up done while it wasn’t raining.

A few weeks earlier, we had contracted to have the trees from our future driveway and the footprint and immediate area of the house cut down. Now there were seven piles of tree remains to be handled.

Homesteading Basics: Create Cool Shade with this Easy Plant

The Right Tool for the Job

First, we bought a used chipper. We took it to a repair shop to get some needed maintenance, only to find out that it was 27 years old! Despite the company that originally manufactured it being out of business, two expert equipment mechanics and some new parts got it working fine.

We also rented a stump grinder, and we took the chipper and the grinder to our property. We arrived at about 11 AM on a day that would reach 94 degrees.

Read more: Overheated Ducks? No Problem!

Working in the Heat

The first hour and a half went by pretty fast. My husband manned the stump grinder and handled four or five stumps from about 1 inch to about 7 inches in diameter. That took care of the driveway.

In the meantime, I was working with the chipper. All it could do was shred the ends of anything over 1-1/2 inches. That meant that I had to lop off the branches that could fit in the chipper. Anything that was too big was laid aside to use in the dead hedge we are building.

Take Frequent Breaks

We took a break to get some water and sit down.  After about 10 minutes, we started to go at it again.

This time we only lasted about an hour.  We took a longer break, had more to drink and tried to get some more done.  Each time we would start, the amount of work got shorter and the breaks got longer.

I felt really hot and my heart was beating faster than normal, even when I sat down in the shade.  By about 3 PM we were both exhausted.

Know When to Stop

At this point, it was all we could do to put everything away and get the stump grinder back into the bed of the truck.  My husband was drenched with sweat and dirty, so he changed before we left.  I was sweaty and thought it best to change shirts.  Even wearing a long sleeve shirt and hat my arms and face were both red — I was definitely overheated!

We went to a restaurant and I sat in the air conditioning, sipping water with lemon as my body cooled down.  It took about half an hour to start feeling better.  I had a light lunch with fruit and vegetables and then we were on the road back home.

Read more: Fresh Homegrown Okra – The Star of the Summer Garden

The Facts About Heat Exhaustion

According to the WebMD website, “Heat Exhaustion” occurs after exposure to high temperatures and is often accompanied by dehydration. Actual heat exhaustion can include symptoms of headache, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting and muscle cramps.

Although we didn’t experience anything that severe, we would have if we had not stopped when we did.  The website recommends exactly what we did – get out of the heat and into a cooler area to rest.

We decided that the next time we want to make a day of yard work we will do it in shorter stretches and take a long air-conditioned break in between.  In terms of hydration, we have also found that drinking coconut water and eating watermelon are good for replenishing mineral salts that are lost due to sweating.

Simple and Effective Watering Systems for Small Livestock


The post Heat Exhaustion – The #1 Threat to Summertime Gardeners appeared first on The Grow Network.

Wilderness Survival: 3 Core Skills to Keep Your Child Alive

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by Todd Walker

Two roads diverged in a wood… and your child is lost!

Wilderness Survival: 3 Core Skills to Keep Your Child Alive -

Hiking and camping season is upon us. Families are hitting the trails to enjoy nature and all its benefits. Nature is neither for you or against you. Nature is neutral. But Mother Nature can also be brutal. Any survival instructor that says otherwise is delusional.

Over the past two years, my 9 year-old grandson and I have spent time together learning survival and self-reliance skills. When he visits now, he usually asks if we can build a fire. The thermometer reading in Georgia matters not, he wants to burn stuff.

Leadership equals influence. Influencing your child to get outside is often easier achieved by you Doing the Stuff. Share your knowledge, demonstrate the skills, and let your child imitate the skills until they become proficient. If your child knows nothing else about survival, the following will keep him alive if ever lost in the backcountry.

3 Core Survival Skills

What is survival? It may be easier defined by stating what survival is not.

Survival isn’t wilderness living, camping, foraging, or bushcraft. Your child won’t have to carve a spoon, make a survival bow, know 21 edible plants, or build an elaborate shelter to stay alive in the unfortunate event he is ever lost in the woods. It’s highly probable that search and rescue will find him before the weekend is over.

Survival is any situation where if you don’t take corrective action, you die.

Train your child in three core survival skills…

Shelter – Hydration – Sleep until rescued.

Core Skill #1: Build a Microclimate

Wilderness Survival: 3 Core Skills to Keep Your Child Alive -

Testing the Kochanski Super Shelter

Clothing: The most important piece of the survival puzzle is having the ability to build a microclimate for core temperature control. The first layer of shelter is the clothing your child wears. Dress appropriately for the weather and location. Cotton is a killer in cold weather survival due to its ability to hold moisture against the body. However, it can be a lifesaver in hot weather by exploiting this same property for evaporative cooling.

Tarp/Cover: Beside clothing, go out prepared to use every shelter option available in your kit. A reusable mylar space blanket is my #1 option to build an emergency microclimate. Add a clear 9 x 12 inch plastic painter’s tarp and you have a lightweight, effective cold weather microclimate called the Kochanski Super Shelter. You’ll need to teach your child to collect enough wood to build a fire in front of this shelter for it to be effective through the night.

Insulation Layer: A closed-cell foam ground pad is what I carry when backpacking or camping. This piece of gear offers a barrier from cold ground (conduction) or helps prevent heat loss from convection when laid in the bottom of my hammock. From my experience of hanging and ground camping in a sleeping bag, this insulation layer is essential to creating a microclimate.

Without a commercial ground pad, two contractor trash bags can be used as an insulation layer. Fill both bags with leaves or fluffy stuff so that, when compressed, you have a 4 to 6 inch barrier of insulation. In a pinch, the forest litter filled bags can be used as a makeshift sleeping bag. There are multiple survival uses for plastic bags. Two bags won’t add much weight but multiply your survival chances.

Fire: The main reason I teach fire craft to my 9 year-old grandson is to reinforce its forgiving nature as a survival tool. Yes, even with no other shelter options, fire can keep you alive. We have many articles parked on our Bombproof Fire Craft Page.

Microclimate Preps

  • Clothing
  • Reusable Emergency Space Blanket/Tarp
  • Clear Painter’s Tarp
  • Two Contractor Trash Bags

Core Skill #2: Hydration

Wilderness Survival: 3 Core Skills to Keep Your Child Alive -

Ways to disinfect water

Find and drink enough water to cause urine to be clear. Remember, even if you don’t have a way to disinfect your water, drink it anyway. You want to die from dehydration or have the trots a week later after being rescued hydrated and logical in the wilderness?

The above statement may seem counter to “proper” survival advice. But if you’re not prepared with water treatment gear, drink the water to stay alive. Food should not be a concern for short-term survival. If you have enough calories to consume daily, eat up. Otherwise, fasting is your best choice. Physiologically, our bodies can go several weeks without food with no ill effects.

Be prepared with water disinfection equipment. My preferred method of water disinfection is boiling. You’ll need a metal container and fire. Fire plays such an important role in survival. Without a suitable metal container, use your garbage bag to boil water using the stone boil method. Practice fire craft! I also like the lightweight Sawyer Mini filters. More detailed information on water treatment can be found here.

Plants and trees are also a source of water and need no filtration. Cut a wild grapevine and water will drip into a container. A clear plastic trash bag can be used to get water from leafy, low-hanging tree branches through transpiration. John McCann has a great article on using this method.

Hydration Preps

  • Metal Container
  • Water Filter
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Trash Bag and Hot Stones
  • Transpiration Bag

Core Skill #3: Sleep

Wilderness Survival: 3 Core Skills to Keep Your Child Alive -

Sleep is a survival tool

“The quality of a survival kit is determined by how much it can help you when you need to sleep.  If you can sleep well at night, you have it made.” ~ Mors Kochanski

When camping, I call sleep the number one skill of a good woodsman. But in a true wilderness survival situation, restorative sleep is key to staying alive. If you’re child has learned to build a proper microclimate and learned at least two methods of disinfecting drinking water, then sleeping 8 hours is his next survival skill.

Scared and alone in the wilderness, I always go back to fire. Beside being a great survival tool for shelter and water disinfection, a fire offers phycological comfort. Kind of like a nightlight in the woods. It not only keeps the boogieman at bay, but gives some peace of mind concerning predators.

Your child should sleep at opportune times. Not all eight hours have to be consecutive like we stress when home. An hour here and there adds up.

With sufficient sleep, your child will be better prepared to deal with the stress of survival. Our physiological body needs sleep for rational thought and decision-making. Sleep deprived, we make stupid mistakes. Use every available resource to make a comfortable microclimate for sleeping and shelter from the elements.

Sleep Preps

  • See Microclimate above – Core Temperature Control
  • Fire
  • Practice in the backyard with minimal gear

Your child can beat the odds of surviving by having the knowledge and practiced skills mentioned here. Spend some time rehearsing the plan before he needs the skills. As the Boy Scout’s motto states, “Be Prepared.”

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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Car Emergency Kit

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Planning You Car Emergency Kit You already have your bug out bag packed and ready to go. You likely already have an evacuation plan set, too. Still, you may not be as ready as you think. Most American families own more than one car and each vehicle needs to be ready to get you through […]

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