Streams

How to Stay Safe in the Cold

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Commuters make a sub-zero trek to offices in the Loop on January 6, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Temperatures in the city dipped to -16 degree Fahrenheit this morning on the heals of a polar vortex. (Scott Olson/Getty)

Thomas Farley, commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, offers advice for dealing with today's extreme cold temperatures.

 

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Dr. Thomas Farley

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Comments [31]

Marilyn from Manhattan

Mr Farley was dangerously misleading when he said frostbite would occur "after an hour or two" of bare skin exposure. The early stage of frostbite, called frostnip, can set in within 5-10 minutes according to the Chicago Tribune. (It's a little colder there, so add a few minutes for NYC). According to the National Weather Service's Frostbite Time chart, frostbite occurs in 30 minutes at the current NYC windchill temperature -14 degrees F. See:
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-frostbite-or-hypothermia-2014-1... BE SAFE: COVER UP -- HANDS, FACE, EVERYTHING.

Jan. 07 2014 11:38 AM
Amy from Manhattan

My brother was in the Air Force & was stationed in Alaska. He told me about a trip to (I think) Barrow, 1 of the northernmost cities, where he & the rest of the crew tossed boiling-hot coffee out of their cups & heard the cracking sound as it froze before it hit the ground. This was at -40 degrees (both F & C; the scales intersect at that temperature). BTW, it probably happens at somewhat higher temperatures for plain water.

Jan. 07 2014 10:40 AM

"Commuters make a sub-zero trek to offices in the Loop on January 6, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Temperatures in the city dipped to -16 degree Fahrenheit this morning on the heals of a polar vortex." degrees, heels

Jan. 07 2014 10:38 AM
sheila from washington heights

Commissioner Farley recommended calling the ACC (Animal Care and Control) to pick up stray animals. ACC is a "kill" shelter. The clock starts ticking on strays brought in. If not adopted they are put to sleep.

For stray cats, the better solution is to set up the cat in your bathroom with a dish of food and water. You can make a quickie litter box out of aluminum food containers and fill with torn up newspaper.

Cats like small spaces. This works well if you have other pets. Keep them separate until you know the newcomers health status.

All it takes is a bathroom and a heart to rescue an animal.

Jan. 07 2014 10:36 AM
SALLY MORROW from Ottawa Canada

You are not exaggerating. The Fahrenheit temperature of 5 or 6 degrees is the same as ours here in Ottawa today (-15 C.)and boy, it is cold. (But then it usually is) My memory of the coldest day I ever experienced in New York goes back a long way. My then-boyfriend had the genius idea to go ice-sailing on some frozen lake. It was 4 degrees F. Never will forget my misery. Happy New Year to all at WNYC. We love you.

Jan. 07 2014 10:35 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

John A

Thanks. Climate change is just a very sensitive topic for me.

Jan. 07 2014 10:30 AM
John A

foodaggro,
We add to the conversation when we can, and ignore what we can't subtract. Based on over 20 years on unmoderated Internet boards.

Jan. 07 2014 10:26 AM
Allan from Highland Park NJ

1. Farenheit scale set by "0" was temperature of salt-water-ice mix and body temperature as "100" (with similar errors I suspect)

2. heat loss through head only greater because of exposed skin; similar exposed skin on torso would have similar heat loss

Jan. 07 2014 10:26 AM
CJ from Jersey City

Very cool (no pun intended) selection that played at the very start of the show. 'Cold Winter' by Carlton Livingston. BRRRRR!!!!

Jan. 07 2014 10:26 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Tea vs coffee vs dcaffeinated hot drinks as diuretics, depriving the body of water?

Jan. 07 2014 10:25 AM
llopez from Manhattan

PLEASE remind people with asthma and other respiratory problems to cover their mouths with a scarf when they're out in the extreme cold. I think most asthmatics know to do this but possibly some don't. While you mentioned that the cold is irritating to the breathing passages, you did not offer this quick and easy preventive.

Jan. 07 2014 10:25 AM
Lee Bartell from 10003

I was in Montreal March, 2006, when it was 39 below zero, which didn't include the wind chill. I had never been so cold, and folks there said that it never gets this cold, but it did. A striking thing was that they didn't clear the sidewalks, so after snow, it froze where folks had been walking, so it was their footprints in in, with ups and downs, very difficult to walk.

Jan. 07 2014 10:25 AM
Hank Linhart from Gowanus, Brooklyn

A friend wrote from Brazil wrote yesterday that their temperature is 100 degrees F.

I'd rather deal with the Arctic Vortex.

Anybody in the mountains knows that Boiling water is the quickest way to heat up your apartment or house.

Jan. 07 2014 10:25 AM
llopez from Manhattan

PLEASE remind people with asthma and other respiratory problems to cover their mouths with a scarf when they're out in the extreme cold. I think most asthmatics know to do this but possibly some don't. While you mentioned that the cold is irritating to the breathing passages, you did not offer this quick and easy preventive.

Jan. 07 2014 10:25 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I would think boiling water on a stove to stay warm would be more dangerous on a gas stove--is that true?

Jan. 07 2014 10:24 AM
Mia from Manhattan

What about homeless people on the streets who have animals?

In these extreme conditions today, will the NYC authorities let them come out of the cold AND keep their pet with them?

Jan. 07 2014 10:24 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Thanks, BRIAN, but what we want to know about boiling water is IF DOING THIS FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME POSES A C02 RISK. But thanks anyway.

Jan. 07 2014 10:23 AM
RJ from prospect hts

What about indoor exercise? stationery bicycles, etc.?

Jan. 07 2014 10:23 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Climate =/= weather
Global =/= uniform

What this really is is global climate disruption. It doesn't mean temperatures all over the world go up at the same rate at the same time.

I'm very glad Gavin called in w/a more scientific explanation.

Jan. 07 2014 10:22 AM
Alan from New York

Most hats are probably not warm enough in extremely cold weather. Wearing a woolen headband under the hat provides substantially more protection.

Jan. 07 2014 10:22 AM
RJ from prospect hts

What about the dryness of inside heat in classic NYC `apt?

Jan. 07 2014 10:20 AM
fuva from harlemworld

lisa from harlem -- Thanks.

BRIAN, can you ask about the safety of boiling water on the stove. (Lotta slumlords in harlem...)

Jan. 07 2014 10:18 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from SUNSHINE STATE

@foodaggro-

Flattery will get you nowhere.

Jan. 07 2014 10:17 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Emmyloo -- Maybe because the oven door is closed when cooking and the stove is on for a short period of time.

And if we (Chuzzlewit notwithstanding) don't know the connection between global warming and extreme weather, then we're really in trouble.

Jan. 07 2014 10:16 AM
lisa altomare from harlem

from experience-yes, do not use your oven to heat BUT , YOU ARE SAFE IF YOU BOIL POTS OF WATER ON THE STOVE-it really helps-I have had no heat many times, unfortunately

Jan. 07 2014 10:14 AM

Just heard the Commissioner's comment about not using the oven to keep warm. Why is doing so any more dangerous than using an oven to cook with?

Jan. 07 2014 10:12 AM

Fahrenheit - here's how he devised the scale: 0 was the temperature his thermometer's liquid froze, 100 was his estimate of body temperature (close, but no cigar).

Jan. 07 2014 10:10 AM
John A

Re: Loose fitting clothing.
Plus, tight fitting clothing permits the generation of sweat, which is then absorbed in the clothing and destroys it's insulative effect and can lead to hypothermia. From my experience of daily morning walks.

Jan. 07 2014 10:07 AM
antonio from baySIde

Is it true folks who run/more physically fit are less prone to the effects of the cold? Rational; there circulation is better?

Jan. 07 2014 10:05 AM
Bob

Could you ask the Commissioner if he will be staying on with the new mayor's administration?

Jan. 07 2014 10:05 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Hey, how are these record cold temps workin' out for all you Global Warming fascists?? Just "normal variations" to the warming trend, eh?

Oh, Brian, and where was the segment on the fact that this past hurricane season didn't see a SINGLE hurricane in the Atlantic?

Greetings from winter down here in sunny Florida, suckers.
Enjoy!!!

Jan. 07 2014 09:57 AM

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