From Across the Field – A Tad Bit Chilly

Brrr! That’s the best way I know how to describe this blast of Polar air that had us hunkered up in the warmth of our homes, (especially since the office was closed). The drop in temperatures aided by the ever blowing wind was about as cold as I can remember. I’ve heard stories about the blizzard of 1978, and am glad we did not get that kind of snowfall prior to this cold snap, as I for one, am not a fan of blowing and drifting snow. Looking at all-time record lows, most of those across Ohio were set in January of 1994. It doesn’t look like it we quite got there this past week.

For those of you have been watching national weather reports or on social media, it has been said that Midwestern cities such as Chicago experienced air temperature colder than Antarctica. While that may be true, our Extension climatologist, Aaron Wilson who is based out of the Byrd Polar Climate Center on campus took time to remind us that it currently summer in Antarctica, where they are experiencing a balmy high of around -2 degrees. If anyone was considering going that far south for the winter, it may be worth reconsidering.

If you are planning to attend Northwest Ohio Crops Day on February 8th in Desher, we ask that you pre-register by tomorrow. The registration fee increases from $35 to $45 at the door. It’s looking to be a nice program featuring Gary Schintkey and all who attend will receive an eFields book, Ohio State’s foremost on research publication.

As a reminder, long exposure to cold, wet, and windy conditions can be dangerous even at temperatures above freezing. Since many tasks on the farm must be completed regardless of the weather conditions, farmers should know how to detect and respond to cold stress injuries.

Older adults and people with a pre-existing condition are at a higher risk. Examples of high-risk conditions are the common cold, diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypothyroidism, arthritis, or using a prosthesis. Certain medicines limit the amount of heat a body makes, making their users more susceptible to cold stress. Medications like anti-depressants, sedatives, and heart medicine are examples. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverage consumption also lowers the amount of heat a body can produce. It is important to remember it takes even the healthiest person longer to complete simple tasks in the winter. However, people with arthritis or any form of limited mobility may be at higher risk of cold stress because of an added length of time to complete tasks, slower reaction time, or decreased balance. Contributing factors of developing a cold stress condition are cold temperatures, high/cold winds, dampness, and exposure to cold water. Cold air, water, and snow draw heat from the body. Four specific conditions that can result from cold stress are hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot, and chilblains.

To learn more about these conditions, their symptoms, and first aid, we have a factsheet on the very topic available at Ohioline.osu.edu. I’ll end this week with a quote from Carl Reiner: “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” Have a great week.

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