How to stay cool if you lose power during a heatwave
07/19/2023 // Olivia Cook // Views

Consider the following tips that might make all the difference in your ability to keep yourself and your family comfortable when the electricity fails during a heatwave. (h/t

Drink lots of water

Regardless of whether you have power or not, drink as much water as possible. Staying hydrated will not only help you feel better, but it will help your body work more efficiently.

If you feel thirsty, dizzy or develop a headache, it's your cue to drink some water. To rehydrate, drink water that's close to room temperature, as your body will process it quicker.

You may be severely dehydrated if you experience confusion, muscle cramping, an increase in heart rate or blood pressure or an inability to sweat or urinate. In that case, seek medical attention. (Related: Follow these simple tips to keep from getting dehydrated.)

Strip down

Adjust your attire so that you aren't wearing stifling, restrictive clothing all day. Ditch any tight-fitting shirts and jeans and stick to more breathable fabrics that are loose-fitting and light in color. The right clothes will keep you much cooler.

Use cooling collars or towels

Wet sweatbands on your head and wrists can help reduce body temperature. Commercial cooling collars or towels work well.

Made of hyper-evaporate breathable mesh material, cooling towels for your neck and face act as artificial temperature regulators when your body isn’t regulating temperature itself – lowering your body temp to a safe level and staving off the symptoms associated with heatstroke and exhaustion.

To "activate" a cooling towel, simply soak the clothes wet in the water, wring out excess water, shake a few times and use the cold towels for hot weather instant chill.

A variety of specially designed cooling hats, vests and bandanas are available online. Wear a breathable hat with a flap, or neck cover. A wide-brimmed hat will also offer good protection from the sun.

Do personal misting

Fill a spray bottle with cool water to spray your skin. Remember to spray your face and wrists. Mist your sheets with water before going to bed. The benefits of the spray are increased when using a fan. Take a cool or slightly warm bath to lower your body temperature.

Eat cool potassium-rich foods

The best diet for hot weather includes salads, sandwiches, fruits, vegetables and cool (not ice-cold) beverages. Foods that are rich in potassium have a natural cooling effect on the body because potassium functions to regulate water and mineral balance throughout the body.

Move the air

A gentle breeze can make a big difference in keeping you cool. You can take advantage of natural ventilation by opening a window on one side of a room and another on the opposite side to allow the cross breezes to cool down the house in the evening or early morning.

Use fans

Fans with multiple power sources can be used near a window to exhaust hot air to the outside and bring cooler air inside your come.

Seal up leaks

Check all of your windows and doors for air leaks. If possible, you may want to check on how well-insulated your home is. While a well-insulated home is better at keeping warm, it’s also better at staying cool, too. Use some weather stripping and caulk to keep your home cool and warm.

Hang up heat-blocking curtains

Thermal blackout curtains work wonders at keeping your home warm during the winter months – but heat-blocking curtains can be just as effective. These are uniquely designed to reflect heat and you can make your own (here’s an idea) for just a few bucks. Not only will they keep you cool, but they’ll lower your electric bill when the power comes back on – or reduce heat loss if you don't have electricity.

Close the blinds

About a third of all your home’s excess heat comes from your windows so shut your blinds to keep your rooms cooler – and also to save energy if you do have electricity.

Remember that heat rises

Stay indoors in a cool place during the hottest parts of the day. The lowest level of a building tends to be the coolest. Sleep downstairs if you can and try to plan out your day so that you don’t need to spend time upstairs either.

Plan your schedule accordingly

If you have any intense activities or chores planned for the day, try to plan them in the morning and evening. Limit activities at the hottest times of the day.

Go swimming

Head to your local swimming pool or beach – going for a dip is one of the best ways to stay cool during a heatwave.

Use homemade evaporative cooler

A rechargeable battery-operated fan can be used to create a little homemade evaporative cooler. Just direct the fan toward a wet hanging towel and enjoy the cool air.

One easy way to mimic the effect of an air conditioner is to put a shallow bowl or pan in front of a fan. Fill it with ice or hang the ice right above it. As the ice melts, the breeze will pick up the cold water, and create a cooling mist.

Small battery-powered fans can move air in your personal space and make you feel cooler even when the power is out. Fans will not prevent heat-related illnesses when temperatures are extremely high. Do not blow extremely hot air on yourself because it can increase the risk of heat exhaustion. Use fans to provide circulation.

Don't use any type of flame lighting

Avoid using any type of flame lighting, such as candles, gas lanterns or wick lamps due to the heat that they produce. Keep an ample supply of glow sticks, flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, torches and task lights with multiple power sources.

Change your cooking habits

Do not use your oven or any other source of heat if possible. Stick to food that doesn't require much cooking, and consider using a camp stove outside if you absolutely must cook.

Eating hot foods is ill-advised during a heat wave because it will not only not taste that great, but it will make it harder for your body to cool down, too.

Eat your largest meals in the morning and evening. It’s cooler out then. Digesting food takes energy, which will heat you up.

Don't forget your pets and livestock

You can cool animals by giving them a cool bath, but making sure your animals have plenty of water to drink is the best thing you can do to prevent heatstroke and other kinds of emergencies.

Visit for more stories like this.

Watch this video to learn how to survive a summer power outage and stay cool.

This video is from the Daily Video channel on

More related stories:

Mild dehydration can have serious effects on health.

Hydration and health: How to ensure that your drinking water is safe.

Driving while dehydrated found to be as dangerous as driving drunk.

Drinking more water essential to improved mood, increased energy.

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