Baby, it’s cold out there – advice from a Canadian

Brr! Most of North America plunged into a deep freeze this week, with temperatures reaching new lows in places that virtually never see cold weather.

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Some of these cities and states have reacted to the cold weather: declaring local emergencies, or outlawing driving except for emergency vehicles or those seeking shelter…  I realize this is because people in these places are not used to cold weather, and aren’t equipped to deal with it.

Yes, it’s cold. But we in Canada live with these temperatures every winter, and go about our daily lives.

I can’t recall ever having our City government declare a “cold weather day” – not even when we were the coldest place on the planet one year (-52C). Our vehicles have block heaters – devices that you plug into a wall outlet to ensure the battery doesn’t freeze. And, the one car feature you never pass up if you can help it – heated seats!

So some tips to my American friends:

  • Wear natural fibres, such as cotton or wool, to provide warmth.
  • Wear layers, but make sure you can easily remove some if you’re indoors for any length of time. You don’t want to sweat and then go outside.
  • Wear a hat – you lose about 60% of your body heat through your head.
  • Protect your ears – they are vulnerable to frostbite if left exposed. And, ladies, you might want to remove metal earrings before going outside. Metal conducts cold.
  • Sacrifice style for warmth if you have to – yes, it’s THAT important. Frostbite hurts like crazy.
  • Use really good moisturizer all over – cold air saps the moisture out of skin.
  • Don’t forget to protect your lips, too.
  • Drink warm liquids and stay hydrated.

Most of all, hunker down. This shall pass for you. Here in Edmonton, however, we can expect to see this weather again. Practice makes perfect.

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