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As temperatures drop, the risk of certain health issues rises — but preparation can help you ride out the cold weather safely.

Depending on where you live, temperatures will probably plunge their lowest in December, January, or February — check out the map from the National Centers for Environmental Information to find out when you’ll likely hit the coldest day of the year in your area. And despite Africa’s temperature tracking warmer by the year, you might find yourself in an area getting unexpected — and record-breaking — cold spells. The Times reported in January 2019 that extreme weather events are increasingly common because of climate change.

As counterintuitive as it might seem, a warmer climate may be causing more extreme cold, reported CBS news in February 2021.

How can you prepare — and keep yourself and your family safe — when the temperature dips low? This detailed guide to surviving extreme cold is a good starting point.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there isn’t a specific temperature cap for “extreme cold” and its effects because the definition depends on an area’s typical weather patterns. For example, in regions that don’t usually experience winter weather, near-freezing temperatures are considered “extreme cold.”

For humans, extreme cold can pose several health risks of various degrees, depending on air and body temperature, along with how much skin is exposed and whether your skin is dry or moist (from sweat, for example).

An abrupt change of temperature can throw your body for a loop. When you move from a warm environment to a super-cold one, the biggest changes happen in the lungs and skin, says Donald a board-certified family physician at the Cleveland. As soon as you walk out, you breathe in cold air, which can feel like a stinging in your lungs. That’s because the air is coming into contact with the moist surface of your lungs, where oxygen is being exchanged for carbon dioxide.

“If you imagine putting a cup of warm water outside in below-zero [F] temperatures, the water will freeze pretty quickly,” Dr. Ford says. When the windchill is below 0 degrees F, lung damage can happen in as little as 15 to 30 minutes. “The real number to be aware of is the windchill number, not the number on the thermometer, and windchill can change in seconds,” Ford adds. If you watch your local news station or the Weather Channel, you’ll often hear meteorologists refer to windchill as the “feels-like” temperature, according to

In cold weather, the body increases blood flow to the trunk (to keep vital organs warm), tightens the blood vessels, and reduces blood flow to your extremities. “The reason I say ‘skin,’ and not ‘bloodstream,’ is because the effect of cold is mostly felt in the skin. It’s your largest organ and it’s right there on the surface,” Ford says. The loss of blood flow happens in proportion to how far away from the heart the body part is, so the fingers and toes are the most vulnerable.

Content created and supplied by: TEXASbois (via Opera News )


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