WINNIPEG - We get it - If you’ve been going “stir crazy” for the past nine months or so, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there, stuck in doors for longer than ever. But if there’s one lesson we can learn from the last couple of days, it’s that if we have the privilege of having a home to stay in when it’s this cold, that’s something to be thankful for. It’s also a chilling reminder to look for opportunities to care for those around us who are vulnerable.
Manitoba faced an extreme cold warning this week, with the temperature diving to -32C or lower. Environment Canada says high pressure from the Arctic is continuing to put southern Manitoba in a deepfreeze for now, and the wind chill has made it feel as cold as -46 or colder. As a result, shelters in Winnipeg reached full capacity this week as the less fortunate escaped the cold.
Environment Canada says the risk of health issues like wind burn and frostbite increases when the wind chill dips below -27. More than 80 Canadians die from overexposure in the cold every year, and more are injured by hypothermia and frostbite. While we can expect the temperature to go back up this week, as long as it’s this cold, let’s pay attention to those around us and make sure they’re able to stay warm and dry.
Weather preparedness experts say if you or someone you care for does get frostbite, don’t massage or rub the skin, and don't warm it until you can make sure it will stay warm. When you get indoors, warm the frostbitten part of the skin gradually with body heat or warm water, and avoid direct heat that can burn the skin.
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