Warm clothing is essential. Each person needs a warm coat, boots, hat, mittens and scarf. You may also want snow pants. Wearing layers of clothing can be warmer than one layer alone. Coats with hoods and windproof outer layers are warmest in the wind. The warmest boots have inner felt liners. These must be removed and dried each day or they will become wet and very cold to wear. Watch for signs of frost-bite. The skin turns bright red, then white spots may appear. Use your hands to warm up the skin where the spots are, then cover up better or get indoors.
Weather information includes wind-chill information. Any wind-chill colder than –20 degrees Celsius can cause skin to freeze in a short time. School is cancelled if the temperature and wind-chill reach below –40.
Around the home, you may need to improve the sealing around doors or windows to keep wind out. In very cold weather, the moisture inside your house can freeze to the windows and then melt. You can put a plastic cover over the windows to prevent this. Talk to people at a hard-ware store for help. Outside you should have a snow shovel to clear snow that can drift as high as 2-3 feet in places. Buy some salt or a salt/sand mix to put on icy walkways.
Vehicles must have block heaters inside the engine that are plugged in at night to keep the motor warm. All drivers carry snow scrapers and emergency supplies such as blankets, candles, chocolate bars and first aid supplies. You may want booster cables, sand and a shovel in the trunk. If you do not have a cell phone, let your family know the route you will be driving.
Drive with extreme caution when roads are wet, icy, or snow-covered. Practice pulling off the road into snow and using your brakes on ice. Cars with ABS systems should be braked steadily. With other cars you should gently “pump” the brakes to slow down. Watch for a condition called ‘black ice’ where a thin layer of ice makes the pavement black and shiny –it is very slippery and dangerous.
Summers can be very hot with temperatures from 25-35 degrees Celsius starting in late May and lasting until August. Sunscreen lotion should be used by everyone spending time outside. Use protective clothing in the hottest part of the day (11 AM –4 PM) or reapply sunscreen regularly. Watch children for heat exhaustion and never leave a child or pet inside a car on a warm day, even with the window open.
Wood ticks are active from May through to the end of July in most parts of Manitoba. They are small round insects that live in tall grass or on trees and bushes. They will attach to your clothing and then try to climb to the hottest parts of your body and attach themselves. Check your hairline regularly when walking, and also check any tickling areas. Ticks can be killed by tearing them apart with the fingernails or burning them (after re-moval). If a tick is attached, try surrounding it with a thick material like butter, honey or white glue. The tick needs to breathe, and will pull its head out in a few minutes. You can gently pull until the tick detaches, but you may leave a part of it under the skin, and this can infect.
Use insect repellent to reduce the chance of insect bites. Also look for a product like “Stop Itch” or “Afterbite” to ease the swelling and itch of bites.