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Sunday, June 25, 2017 

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Did You Remember . . .

Last Wednesday (June 21st)

Was the 1st Day of


The thermometer on the wall should have been your first clue!  Or maybe, the air conditioner running full blast.  Or just opening the front door and getting hit in the face with that Sahara Desert blast of hot, hot air.

I joke, of course.  It's not like we needed a hidden clue to let us know that it was getting hot outside.  And I mean HOT!

The older I get, the more I can't tolerate either super hot or super cold.  Can't we just have it somewhere in the middle all the time?  Nah!  I guess that's just too much to ask for.

We've already talked about "How Hot Is Too Hot, so then, "How Cold Is Too Cold?"

The answer is slightly different for everyone, experts say, depending on body size, body shape and layers of warm clothes worn. But overall, people don't have a lot of biological tools for adapting to cold conditions. When wind chills fall into the double digits below zero things can go bad quickly.

"In general, humans are not very well adapted to be able to do well in the cold, short of having a very large brain," said Christopher Minson, an environmental physiologist at the University of Oregon, Eugene. "There are some physiological responses that help, but the main thing we do is put more and more clothes on."

When you step outside on a cold day, your body initially reacts by constricting blood vessels in the skin and diverting blood from the periphery to your core in an attempt to limit heat loss by lowering the temperature gradient between skin and environment.

As your core temperature drops below the normal average of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, you start to shiver, which generates a little heat, Minson said, but not a lot.

At a core temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit, you'll feel uncomfortably cold. That's when mild hypothermia settles in and the body begins to have trouble maintaining its internal temperature.

When it drops to 91 degrees Fahrenheit, Minson said, people develop amnesia. They become irrational and do strange things like taking all of their clothes off, thinking that they're burning up instead of freezing cold.

At internal temperatures of 82 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, people lose consciousness. Death comes at a core temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

One reason hypothermia is so dangerous is that the body's enzymes and nerve signals work best in a warm system. When the system gets colder than it should be, processes slow down.

Frostbite is an even bigger concern during cold snaps like the one we're experiencing now, said John Castellani, of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass.

When wind chill is below -17 degrees Fahrenheit, there becomes a very real risk that uncovered skin tissue can freeze. Ice crystals that form in skin cells can cause damage, including cell death. The early stages of frostbite is called frostnip, which is freezing at the surface of the skin.

In at least two small but notorious experiments, Castellani said, researchers observed what happened to people who sat in a chamber that was cooled to various temperatures. At -17 degrees Fahrenheit, results showed, it took about 30 minutes of exposure to cause frostbite.

But frostbite struck after just 10 minutes at -30 degrees Fahrenheit, and in just five minutes at -50 degrees Fahrenheit. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends "heightened surveillance" of athletes exercising outdoors when wind chills get down to -18 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Wind chill measurements are more important than air temperatures when it comes to evaluating the dangers of cold weather, Castellani said, because the wind chill describes the temperature your skin is actually experiencing.

But we shouldn't have to worry about wind chill here in Florida.  It's when you decide to visit family and friends back in the northern part of the U.S. that causes a problem, especially in the winter.

June 25, 2017

"Summer in the City" is a song recorded by The Lovin' Spoonful, written by John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian and Steve Boone.

It appeared on their album Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1966, for three consecutive weeks.  The song features a series of car horns during the instrumental bridge, starting with a Volkswagen Beetle horn, and ends up with a jackhammer sound, in order to give the impression of the sounds of the summer in the city. The song became a gold record. It is ranked number 401 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

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