Did you know that drinking water is just as important in winter as it is in the summer? In fact, dehydration can set in faster in winter than summer. When we exhale, we are working to humidify the air surrounding us. Because the air in winter is much drier and colder than summer, we work harder to warm that air. It is possible to lose up to two liters of water a day through evaporation simply by breathing. Further, we are less likely to reach for a cool, glass of water to regulate our temperature in the winter. Not to mention that dehydration can actually speed up hypothermia. Drinking plenty of water also helps us fight colds and other respiratory illnesses as well as prevent dry, chapped skin.
I know the information is redundant, however, you need to store at least three days of water for you and your family in preparation for winter storms. The recommended amount for drinking and sanitation is one gallon of water per person, per day.
The easiest way is to buy cases of pre-packed plastic water bottles. My local grocery store brand sells cases for less than $3. One case equals a little over three gallons. Bottled or jugs of water will last a year when stored in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight before the need to rotate it with fresh bottles.
Hopefully, you have been following our 30 days of preparing for winter weather and have purchased a NOAA weather alert radio. When you receive an alert, fill your bathtub with water using a WaterBob or similar device before the storm hits. You may also fill up your sinks, washing machine and any other container safe for water storage.
Though the water stored in the tank of the commode and in the hot water heater can be used in a dire emergency—treated first—don’t count on as it as a source. I know people whose toilet water froze during a bad ice storm. If you must use the water stored in these areas, you will need to disinfect it first with a filter or treatment tablets.
Even though it might be tempting to eat snow and ice—after all, it’s water, right?—don’t. You must melt it first.
Let me recap. Water is just as important during winter as it is in summer. Remember to drink your eight glasses each day. If your body tells you “I’m thirsty,” you may already be dehydrated. So drink water before you feel thirsty. Today, if you haven’t already, stock up on bottled water, a water filter, bleach, and water containers in preparation for the coming winter months.
Be sure to check back tomorrow to learn how to prevent a disastrous pipe bursting.
To learn more about how to treat questionable water, read Purifying Water on the Fly: Safe Drinking Water in an Emergency.
Do you have a tip for staying hydrated in the winter months? Share it with us in the comment section.