One of the most important skills to master in order to prepare for a crisis is to understand how critical it is to maintain body temperature in a survival situation.
Your body actually does a pretty good job of regulating its temperature on a daily basis when everything is working properly. But in a survival situation, your body can go haywire if you aren’t paying attention and being proactive about getting your body what it needs to regulate its temperature.
Knowing how body temperature works and what things you can do to help your body maintain its temperature if it gets too cold or too hot can help you survive if you find yourself stranded.
Maintain Body Temperature When It’s Cold
#1. Water is one of the primary components of the human body. Your body can regulate its own temperature pretty well when it’s working properly.
It’s important to stay hydrated, even in cold weather, so that your body can regulate itself properly. If you are already dehydrated and then you find yourself in a survival situation, it means your body may not be able to do its job regulating temperature.
Another key ingredient your body needs in order to be able to maintain body temperature in a survival situation is magnesium. Magnesium can be found in a variety of different nuts such as peanuts, almonds, and cashews so these are great to carry with you if you in colder weather.
Other foods that are sources of magnesium include wheat germ, legumes, soybeans, spinach, fortified oatmeal, wheat bran, potatoes, avocados, and brown rice.
#3. Dressing in Layers is a key way to maintain body temperature in a survival situation, especially when it’s cold outside. Avoid cotton next to the skin and instead use a material with moisture wicking properties. Your outermost layer should be waterproof or at least water repellent.
#4. Use Hand and Foot Warmers when it’s cold outside to maintain body temperature in a survival situation. These are typically charcoal activated and can be thrown into your survival bags, and pulled out to use inside your gloves, boots, or even the bottom of your sleeping bag if needed.
#5. Insulate Your Shelter against the cold in order to stay warm in a survival situation. Whether you use a tent or build your own shelter from natural materials, knowing how to insulate your shelter is critical. This includes making sure you include a layer of insulating material between your sleeping bag and the ground.
#6. Start a Fire to help stay warm and keep from freezing when you find yourself stranded outdoors in the cold weather. Since being stranded is often unpredictable, make sure you always carry several different methods for starting a fire no matter where you are.
#7. Drink Warm Beverages to help raise your body temperature from the inside out when cold weather threatens. It’s a good idea to carry something you can use to start a fire as well as a cup or pot for heating water just in case you find yourself stranded outside in the cold.
You’d be surprised at how much warmer you will feel if you can heat water and throw in a tea bag or even a bouillon cube and sip slowly.
#8. Keep Moving in order to help maintain body temperature in a survival situation. It’s a well known fact that when you stay moving you are warmer. If you need to stay in one area to wait for rescuers, you can walk in circles, pace or even stomp your feet or do jumping jacks to help yourself stay warm when it’s cold outside.
#9. Blankets if you have some with you are a great way to stay warm when it’s cold and you are stranded. Make sure you have insulation between you and the cold ground and then add layers of blankets on top of you to trap your body heat and help you stay warm.
#10. Avoid Diet Pills and Decongestants which can cause blood vessels to spasm and interfere with the ability of your body to regulate its temperature.
#11. Stay Awake in order to maintain body temperature in a survival situation. Core body temperature decreases slightly when you fall asleep.
#12. Season Food with Cayenne Pepper is another of the lesser known ways to maintain body temperature in a survival situation.
The ingredient, capsaicin, creates a thermogenic reaction in the body and helps to raise core temperature. If you have the forethought to include cayenne pepper in your EDC or GHB, adding it to your food could help you stay warmer.
#13. Eat Brown Rice which will raise your body temperature as your body turns the rice into energy.
#14. Chew Raw Ginger to constrict blood vessels and help you feel warmer. It works almost immediately to regulate your body temperature.
Maintain Body Temperature When It’s Hot
When most people think about ways to maintain body temperature in a survival situation, their first thoughts are about staying warm in cold temperatures. But when it comes to survival, you also have to consider ways to lower your body temperature in hot temperatures.
In fact, because most people don’t think as much about getting overheated, dehydration and heat stroke or heat exhaustion can sneak up on you. Below are some ways to maintain body temperature in a survival situation when temperatures soar.
#15. Find Shade when it’s hot in order to get out of the sun and give your body a chance to cool down. One way to do this is to bring along a tarp and paracord that can be used to create shade when you need it. But you can also find shade using natural resources such as leafy tree canopies, a cave, or a rocky overhang.
#16. Wear Light Colors when you are out in the sun for extended periods of time. Dark colors actually absorb the heat and make you hotter. Light colors will help your body keep itself cool.
#17. Use a wet bandana or t-shirt around your neck or forehead to help your body lower its core temperature when you are working in a warm climate.
#18. Stay hydrated if you find yourself trapped in a survival situation where temperatures are hot by drinking fresh water, coconut water, or gatorade. Staying hydrated is the best way to help your body regulate its temperature and keep from getting overheated.
#19. Avoid Caffeine or Alcoholic Beverages when temperatures soar because these types of beverages can actually speed up dehydration and negatively impact the ability of your body to regulate temperature.
#20. Pass Up Spicy Foods which cause your body’s temperature to increase during the digestion process.
#21. Avoid Drugs such as antihistamines, opioids, and some antibiotics which can cause body temperature to rise.
#22. Go Swimming if possible to help lower your body temperature in hot weather.
#23. Limit Physical Exertion when temperatures soar because excessive perspiration in hot weather can raise body temperature and lead to dehydration or heat exhaustion. If you must do physical work in extreme temperatures, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
#24. Wear Loose Fitting Breathable Clothing to maintain body temperature in a survival situation where temperatures are warm. Loose fitting clothing lets breeze circulate over your skin easier which can help you stay cool.
Which of these ways to maintain body temperature in a survival situation surprised you? Do you have any tricks for staying cool or keeping warm that we didn’t include on our list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart.
For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of ten is learning everything she can about preparedness, survival, and homesteading.