You may have thought about weapons, defences, food and water, but what about the climate? The weather can affect the way in which you move, how you hunt and where you shelter. Knowing how to handle the changing seasons, erratic weather patterns and temperature differences can determine whether you live or die.
The type of apocalypse comes into play quite heavily here. If the world came to its end by a nuclear explosion then there’s radiation to think about. If zombies are staggering about then you need to take into account weaponry
Yes it can make you wet and cold but rain could be a lifesaver in many apocalyptic situations. Generally it’s going to be cleaner than other water sources. Catch it, purify it and drink it. Water purification plays a big part in survival; boiling water may not be enough to remove all the things that might make you sick. Start stocking up on water purification tablets now, they could come in very handy in the future.
If it’s zombies you’re facing then this could be everything you could’ve wished for. They’re dead; they don’t regulate their own body temperature. They’re going to get frozen into a snowdrift just as easily as a dead cat. Extreme weather like this could give you the chance to forage. It’s a pity we rarely get more than a few days of snow at a time here in the UK, and even then it’s never really that cold.
If you want to avoid the snow, and in most cases you would (it makes things slippery and it’s cold) then you should head to the coast. All that salty sea air does well to keep snow at bay, but watch out for the icy sea winds.
It’s likely that after a nuclear war a nuclear winter could set in. This would probably kill more people than the war itself. Essentially particles such as dust, dirt and smoke could settle in the Earth’s stratosphere and would cut us off from the heat and light of the sun.
It would be very cold, there would be very little rain and it would be difficult to see through the haze of smoke. The ozone could deplete greatly and, when the sun did manage to peak through all that dust and dirt, we’d be exposed to harmful UV rays.
Good clothing is essential. You’ll need clothes that will protect you from the cold but also clothes that cover your entire body, you do not want your skin to be exposed to the sun’s radiation. Keep those good sunglasses with you too; you’ll be needing them.
If you can get your hands on a gas mask then wear it. We’ve all heard about the dangers of smoke inhalation, think about radioactive smoke inhalation. Where there’s no gas mask available make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a thick fabric to reduce the amount of crap getting into your lungs.
The cold can slow us down and it’s important to know how to handle it. Layers are essential; keep your hands, feet and head covered too. If your clothes get wet make sure you have a spare set to wear while the others dry. Walking around in wet clothes, in the cold, leads to hypothermia.
Hypothermia is easily treatable if noticed early. If you are travelling with others then it’s good to know the signs. At first they’ll be shivering and their movements may be slower than normal. Soon their speech will start to slur. Ask them if they can stop shivering, if they can then it’s not serious. If they can’t then it’s moderate. In either scenario you need to get them warmed up. Carbohydrates, shelter and body warmth are the best ways to do this.
If the hypothermia is very severe then the person will stop shivering, will lose all coherency and will barely be able to move.
Firstly, it’s easier to smell the decaying bodies of the living dead in the heat. That’s probably the only upside.
Even if it’s so hot you don’t want to move you should refrain from shedding too many layers. Keep your arms and legs covered. There’s sunburn to worry about and it’s much easier to scrape yourself on the rusty scenery. Keeping yourself covered will also help to avoid heatstroke.
Try to avoid moving too much in the heat but if there is something you have to run from then do it, but make sure to keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration in its mildest form can cause headaches and dizziness, all of which will slow you down.
If dehydration gets very severe then your blood pressure could drop, you could lose consciousness and you could have a seizure.
In short, you need to be prepared. It’s all good and well knowing exactly how you can kill an army of zombies but if the weather changes, and you can’t handle it, it could kill you just as quickly.
Jess Shanahan is a writer over at http://jetink.blogspot.com and is currently working on her second novel and a very special blog serial entitled Zombies in Norwich. You can find her on Twitter – @jetlbomb.
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