Posts tagged freeze

Strip poker and how long does skin take to freeze?

   Not much gardening happening in this weather. But no matter what takes you outdoors, precautions should be followed when it gets this cold.

   Radio station Z-102.9 had an on-air “strip poker” game this morning. The loser had to run outside with whatever clothes she was left wearing. Not the best example for kids sitting at home in another day off from school.

  Hopefully school children have better sense.

 

  The Iowa Department of Public Health offered the following advice for cold weather safety:  

 

   According to the National Weather Service, wind chills will range statewide from 30 to 40 below zero overnight and tomorrow morning when people will be going to work and children will be going to school. In those conditions, exposed skin could freeze within 10 minutes.

    It is best to stay inside if possible, but if you must be outdoors during these extreme conditions, it is very important to protect yourself against frostbite.

   Cover all skin, including hands, head and ears, neck and face, if going outdoors for any length of time, even if only for a few minutes.

Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a grayish color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the skin, causing scarring, and severe cases can lead to amputation. Signs of frostbite include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, or numbness. A person is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb.

   If you must be outside for any length of time, make sure you check yourself and your children for these signs. If your skin shows these signs of freezing, go into a warm place immediately. Warm up frozen/chilled skin by pressing against normal temperature skin (put frozen fingers in armpits). Do not massage frozen/chilled skin, do not rub with snow, or place hot items against skin as this could cause more damage. Seek medical attention if skin does not quickly return to normal color or pain occurs and continues.

More information on frostbite can be found at www.idph.state.ia.us/adper/common/pdf/winter_weather/frostbite_factsheet.pdf.

 

  And from St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids:

 

   According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hypothermia occurs when the body temperature falls below 95 degrees.

    Nearly 600 Americans die each year from hypothermia.

 

Victims of hypothermia are most often:

– Elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating

– Babies sleeping in cold bedrooms

– Children left unattended

– Adults under the influence of alcohol

– Mentally ill individuals

– People who remain outdoors for long periods

Symptoms of hypothermia for infants include bright red, cold skin and very low energy.

For adults, symptoms include:

           Shivering/exhaustion

           Confusion/fumbling hands

           Memory loss/slurred speech

           Drowsiness

Frostbite is injury to the body caused by freezing that causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas.

It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body and severe cases can lead to amputation.

At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin. Frostbite may be beginning.

Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:

           A white or grayish-yellow skin area

           Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy

           Numbness

Hypothermia is a medical emergency and frostbite should be evaluated by a health care provider.

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November need-to-know

Linn County Master Gardener, Susan Long, prepared the following Q & A’s that are frequently asked of Hortline volunteers in November.

                Q:  Can I plant potted mums in my garden now for blooms next year?

                A:  Even though potted garden mums may be deemed “hardy”, they don’t over-winter well in Iowa.  The repeated freezing and thawing may heave the plants out of the ground causing damage or death.  The best protection is to not cut back any of the plant and mulch heavily with clean straw, pine needles, or evergreen branches after several hard freezes (mid to late November).  Leaves tend to mat down and don’t serve as adequate protection.  Spring is a better time to plant mums as they have the summer to establish themselves.

 

                Q:  Is it OK to prune oak trees now?

                A:  Winter (December through February) is the best time to prune oak trees in Iowa.  Pruning oak trees in winter greatly reduces the risk of an oak wilt infection.  Oak wilt is a fungal disease that is lethal to many Oaks.  It can be spread from infected trees to healthy trees by sap-feeding beetles.  Oak wilt infections occur most commonly in spring and early summer.  Pruning oak trees in winter greatly reduces the risk of an oak wilt infection as the beetles and fungal mats are not present at that time of the year.

 

                Q:  How do I get my Christmas cactus to bloom at Christmas?

                A:  Day length and temperature control the flowering of a Christmas cactus. Temperatures shouldn’t be above 70’ in the daytime with nighttime temperatures of 60-65’.   Provide your plants with bright day light, not artificial light, until mid-October.  Move the plant to an unused location after mid-October, giving your plant 14 to 16 hours of continuous darkness each day for at least 3 weeks.  Keep the soil conditions dry, watering every 7-10 days.  They don’t like to be moved, however, once buds set the plant can be moved to another location.  Your plant should start to bloom at Christmas.

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