Friday December 6th, 2013
Warm clothing is essential. Each person needs a warm coat, boots, hat, mittens and scarf. You may also want snow pants. Wearing layers of clothing can be warmer than one layer alone. Coats with hoods and windproof outer layers are warmest in the wind. The warmest boots have inner felt liners. These can be removed and dried to keep warm.
Frostbite happens when skin freezes. The skin turns bright red, and then white spots may appear. Use your hands to warm up the skin where the spots are, then dress warmer or go indoors.
Wind-chill is a combination of low temperatures and the wind factor.
Any wind-chill colder than –20 degrees Celsius can cause skin to freeze in a short time. School is cancelled if wind-chill reaches below –45. Radio stations will announce school cancellations.
Around the home, you may need to improve the sealing around doors or windows to keep wind out. Outside you can use a snow shovel to clear snow. Snow can drift as high as 2-3 feet in places. You can buy some salt or a salt/sand mix to put on icy walkways.
Vehicles must have block heaters inside the engine, which are plugged in at night to keep the motor warm. All drivers carry snow scrapers and brushes. Emergency supplies such as blankets, candles, chocolate bars and first aid supplies should be kept in the car.
You may want to have booster cables, sand and a shovel in the trunk.
Many people who drive a lot buy a cell phone for emergency use. If you do not have a cell phone, let your family know the route you will take.
Drive with extreme caution when roads are wet, icy, or snow-covered. You can try the brakes to check how icy the roads are. Cars with ABS systems should be braked steadily. With other cars you should gently “pump” the brakes to slow down. Watch for ‘black ice’ where a thin layer of ice makes the pavement black and shiny –it is very slippery and dangerous. Winter storms or blizzards can cause zero visibility where the driver cannot see ahead.
Summers can be very hot with temperatures from 25-35 degrees Celsius starting in late May and lasting until August. Sunscreen lotion should be used by everyone spending time outside. The hottest time of day is between 11 am and 4 pm. Watch children for heat exhaustion and never leave a child or pet inside a car on a warm day, even with the window open.
Wood ticks are active from May through to the end of July in most parts of Manitoba. They are small round insects that live in tall grass or on trees and bushes. If a tick is attached, try surrounding it with a thick material like butter, honey or white glue. Call the Public Health Nurse for more information.
Use insect repellent to reduce the chance of insect bites like mosquitoes. Insect repellent with DEET is more effective. Also look for a product like “Stop Itch” or “Afterbite” to ease the swelling and itch of bites.