“Don’t breathe or go outside” – Surviving Extreme Winter Cold
Extreme cold weather is becoming more and more common in cities and urban areas. Many of us aren’t well equipped to deal with these conditions, so what must we do to keep safe when the cold hits?
As life threatening and extremely cold conditions attack the United States this week, citizens are being told to limit their breathing and the amount of time they spend outside as temperatures in parts of the country are predicted to go under -70° Celcius (-94° Fahrenheit).
The midwestern US state of Minnesota could see temperatures could drop as low as -70° Celcius due to wind chills, the local National Weather Service Office (NWS) tweeted out the ominous warning.
The office said that “these are VERY DANGEROUS conditions and can lead to frostbite on exposed skin in as little as five minutes where wind chill values are below -50C (-58F). Best thing you can do is limit your time outside.”
The weather office in Iowa, Des Moines is expected to see temperatures drop to -20° Celcius soon enough with residents being urged to “to protect your lungs from severely cold air, avoid taking deep breaths; minimise talking.”
As reported by Sky News, the worst of the weather is expected across the Midwest and especially in Chicago – which is appropriately nicknamed, the windy city. Forecasters say that it could be colder than parts of Antarctica.
The Chicago River has frozen over with massive chunks of ice floating through the city section of the river. There are more than 1,500 flights being cancelled over this week and another 2,100 have been scrapped across the country on Wednesday, with this drama expected to only continue through the weekend.
Government offices, businesses and schools have been closed in the city along with major attractions like the Lincoln Park Zoo, Art Institute of Chicago and Field Museum.
The low temperatures and freezing won’t be limited to a few unlucky regions, as 212 million Americans will experience below-freezing temperatures over this week. That 72 percent of Americans. On top of all this, around 25 percent of the US population will have been suffering through subzero temperatures this week.
Emergency measures have been put in place by Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois authorities in order to handle the severe cold that has struck the nation.
How to Survive the Extreme Cold
Looking after yourself and your family and friends (especially vulnerable younger and older people) is imperative in the cold weather, even if it’s not as chilly over here in the UK as our US neighbours may be experiencing, self care in cold weather is vital.
The winter weather is attributed to a number of common illnesses, many of which can be treated at home using natural remedies, though in severe cases medical attention should always be sought. Colds, Sore Throats, Asthma, Norovirus, Join Ache, Cold Sores, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Dry Skin and Flu are all very common in cold weather. For further information on how to deal with these conditions, check out the latest advice from the NHS.
Interestingly, Heart Attacks are more common in cold weather as a result of a blood pressure increase; this is why people with known heart conditions and vulnerable people should be taking extra care to ensure they keep warm and don’t over exert themselves during the bleak winters days, according to the NHS:
“Heart attacks are more common in winter. This may be because cold weather increases blood pressure and puts more strain on the heart. Your heart also has to work harder to maintain body heat when it’s cold. Top tip: Stay warm in your home. Heat the main rooms you use to at least 18C and use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed. Wrap up warm when you go out and wear a hat, scarf and gloves.”
In the case of a suspected heart attack, an ambulance should be called and medical advice should be sought immediately.
Wrap up warm, eat the right immune system boosting foods and ensure you stay safe when going outdoors. Wear appropriate footwear, a hat, gloves and a warm, waterproof coat.