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Posted: January 22, 2016

This is why you should seriously never eat snow

Never Eat Snow - Here's Why

By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

 

Don’t eat the snow! A study, published in 2016, claimed that eating snow is potentially dangerous, particularly in urban areas.

Dr. Parisa Ariya, a professor at McGill University in Canada, told The Huffington Post that snow in cities can absorb toxic and carcinogenic pollutants and that the snow itself combining with those pollutants can lead to even more dangerous compounds being released.

>> Read more trending stories

"Snowflakes are ice particles with various types of surfaces, including several active sites, that can absorb various gaseous or particulate pollutants," she said.

Ariya, who led the study, said she did not "wish to be alarmist," but "as a mother who is an atmospheric physical chemist, I definitely do not suggest my young kids eat snow in urban areas in general."

The study examined how snow interacts with pollutants from car exhaust in the air. Findings showed that snow pulled pollutants like benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylenes from the air. The amount of pollutants concentrated in the snow increased dramatically.

"Without considering snow and ice, one will not be able to properly evaluate the effect of exhaust emission, and subsequently health and climate impacts, for the cities which receive snow," Ariya said. "Further research is recommended to address various aspects of such experiments under various environmental conditions, for adequate implementation in future modeling."


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(Keith Myers/Kansas City Star/MCT)

WINTER WEATHER

(Keith Myers/Kansas City Star/MCT)

WINTER WEATHER

AS LONG AS IT'S NOT YELLOW--Roberto Alvarez, 3, tried to catch snowflakes as he walks into Festival Foods with his mother, Bianca Peregrina, right, and cousin, Paul Rocha, in Kansas City, Missouri, Monday, February 25, 2013. (Keith Myers/Kansas City Star/MCT)

Winter weather: How to shovel, remove snow safely

As snow falls, homeowners need to keep up on snow removal.

But simple snow shoveling could land some in the emergency room if they don’t follow some simple guidelines.

“Picking up a shovel and moving hundreds of pounds of snow, particularly after doing nothing physical for several months, can put a big strain on the heart,” Harvard Health executive editor Patrick Skerrett has written in the past.

Cold temperatures can also increase heart rate and blood pressure. Blood can clot easier and constrict arteries, decreasing blood supply, the National Safety Council reported

From 1990-2006, 1,647 people died from heart issues related to shoveling snow, the BBC reported. The average is about 100 people a year die from shoveling-related heart attacks.

So how can you keep yourself safe while doing the winter chore?

The National Safety Council said:

  • Don’t shovel after eating.
  • Don’t smoke and shovel.
  • Shovel fresh, powdery snow.
  • Push the snow instead of lifting it.
  • If you must lift, use a small shovel or partially fill the shovel.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Don’t work until you’re exhausted.

If you have history of heart disease, ask a doctor before attempting to shovel and if you feel tightness in the chest or dizziness while shoveling, stop.

If you opt for a snowblower instead of a shovel, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offer these snowblower safety tips:

  • If it jams, turn it off.
  • Keep hands away from moving parts.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Be aware of carbon monoxide risk in an enclosed space.
  • Refuel only when the blower is off, not while it’s running

7 winter driving tips

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, resulting in over 1,300 deaths and more than 116,800 injuries annually.

"Winter weather can be challenging for drivers, no matter their level of expertise," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelly Blue Book's website KBB.com. "Preparation starts by purchasing a vehicle with appropriate winter driving capabilities, and it extends to paying close attention to important details such as tires, washer fluid and other maintenance items that are critical to help keep passengers safe in inclement weather."

 >> Read more trending stories

Tips for Winter Driving

  • All-wheel drive counts. All-wheel drive aids acceleration and maximizes available traction, sending power to all four corners.  This comes in handy when accelerating from a stop on wet, icy or snowy surfaces and makes it less likely that you'll get stuck, particularly on slippery inclines.

  • However, the type of tires on your car matter more. It's important to remember that the tires are the only part of a vehicle that actually touch the ground.  As a result, they are ultimately responsible for the level of traction a vehicle will or won't have, regardless of how good its traction control, stability control, or all-wheel drive system.  If the tires can't grip on snow and ice, you're not going anywhere.  Snow tires (or "winter" tires) offer more traction than all-season tires.

  • There is no one-size-fits-all setup.  However, where you live, the amount of snowfall the area sees, and your level of driving comfort should dictate which type of vehicle and tires are right for you. Keep in mind that winter tires will wear rapidly in warmer temperatures, so you should be ready to change your winter tires out when the weather changes.

  • Be practical.  While the top option remains an all-wheel drive vehicle fitted with winter tires, if you're budget-conscious, front-wheel drive with winter tires is another good option.  Due to the price premium seen on today's all-wheel drive vehicles, experts suggest buying a car that fits your everyday lifestyle, rather than occasional needs.

  • Don't use a mixed set of snow tires.  Make sure to fit matching snow tires to all four wheels, rather than a mixed set at each end, which can compromise handling.

  • Have your vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic.  You should ensure your vehicle has all necessary maintenance performed, including checking tire pressure, fluid levels, the function of the heater, defroster, and wipers, as well as the health of the brakes, battery, and all belts and hoses.

  • When in doubt, slow down.  Even with a fully-winterized vehicle, staying alert and traveling at safe speeds are essential to driving safely in winter weather.

 

Eyelashes freeze, thermometer breaks as -62°C temperatures hit world's coldest village

As Americans continue to brave the winter weather, photos from a remote village in Russia might make them count their blessings that it’s not worse.

>> Here are 16 tips for keeping you, your pets and home safe in the cold

According to the experts, Oymyakon in Siberia is the world’s coldest permanently inhabited area. Recent temperatures came in at a bone-chilling -62°C, or -79.6°F.

>> Tips, warning signs for frostbite, hypothermia

In fact, it was so cold that the town’s thermometer broke.

A few pictures have indicated that bundling up is no match for the weather.

Despite this, the weather certainly hasn’t deterred the adventurous.

>> Read more trending news 

It would seem that besides the thermometer, schools are the only other thing truly feeling the effects of the cold temperatures.

(H/T Twitter)

 
Tips, warning signs for frostbite, hypothermia

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Tips, warning signs for frostbite, hypothermia

The National Weather Service is offering warning signs and tips to deal with frostbite and hypothermia.

Those who need to warm up are encouraged to use their armpits, a warm companion, warm drinks and warm clothes. Those who believe they may have frostbite are encouraged to get indoors, get in a warm, but not hot, bath and wrap their face and ears in a moist, warm towel, WHIO reported. Hot stoves and heaters, heating pads and a hot water bottle should be avoided, as skin may burn before feeling returns.

>> Read more trending news 

Frostbitten skin will become warm and swollen and feel as though it's on fire, WHIO reported. Blisters may develop, but popping them can cause scarring, according to the National Weather Service. If skin is blue or gray, very swollen, blistered or feels hard and numb, go to the hospital immediately.

Frostbite stages:

  • First degree: ice crystals forming on your skin
  • Second degree: your skin begins to feel warm, even though it is not yet defrosted
  • Third degree: your skin turns red, pale, or white
  • Fourth degree: pain lasts for more than a few hours, and you may see dark blue or black areas under the skin. See a doctor immediately if these symptoms arise. Gangrene is a real threat

Hypothermia occurs when a person's body temperature is below 96 degrees, and temperatures as low as 60 degrees can cause hypothermia if someone isn't properly clothed.

Remember these tips to help prevent hypothermia

  • Dress in layers
  • Always wrap up well when going outside in the cold.
  • Set your thermostat to at least a toasty 70 degrees during cold weather.
  • Avoid extensive exposure to breezes and drafts.
  • Keep plenty of nutritious food and warm clothes and blankets on hand to help ward off the winter chill. You'd also be wise to wear a warm hat during these months.
  • Eat hot foods and drink warm drinks several times during the day.
  • Ask a family member of neighbor to check on you often.
  • Ask your doctor if any medicine you're taking increases your risk of hypothermia. Some drugs make it difficult for your body to stay warm. Drugs that may cause a problem include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, chlorpromazine, reserpine, and tricyclic antidepressants.

How To Prepare For Winter Weather

How To Prepare For Winter Weather

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