Bodies, minds may be adapting to colder weather

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Another day, another dive in temperatures.

"Well, it's a little scary but I'm getting used to it and my body's adjusting and I can just deal with it," Larry Rule said.

Dealing with temperatures in the single digits seems to be becoming the norm this winter.

"I hate it," Barbara Dickson said. "I hate it. I can't wait for spring. I can't wait for the days when I'm complaining about the summer and that it's too hot. I want that."

But not everyone's letting the negative temperatures change their positive attitude.

"Why be negative about it?" Rule asked with a smile. "I can't change it so I have to deal with it."

And that's exactly what peoples' bodies and minds are starting to do: get used to it.

"There have been some studies by folks who work in the Arctic and Antarctic that our bodies do adjust overtime," explained Dr. Kimberley Hanneken with St. Mary's Hospital. "And I think it's also a mental thing that we get used to the colder weather in some respects and that can be dangerous because then we can lose respect for the colder weather."

People still bundle up, but maybe not enough.

"You get used to the sensation of the cold and you may not put your hat on, you may not put your mittens on or your gloves on," Dr. Hanneken said. "The main concern is to keep our core very warm. We don't want our important organs like our heart, etc., to have problems."

And while freezing temperatures start to feel like, "Spring," Dickson said with a laugh. "It's like okay it's spring! But no it's not. Then it goes back down below zero."

Each day is a reminder winter is still here.

State Climatologist Jim Angel said where this winter ranks among others in terms of days below zero. Springfield has had 18 days below zero, ranking this winter third for the most days ever below zero. Champaign has had 13 days below zero. It ranks eighth. Decatur has had just eight days below zero, putting this winter at number 12.

For Decatur, the coldest temperature this winter was -13 degrees on January 6. The coldest ever was -25 set back on Feb. 13, 1905. For Champaign, the coldest temperature this winter was -14 degrees on January 6 and February 7. The coldest ever was -25 set back on Jan. 5, 1999. For Springfield, the coldest temperature this winter was -13 on January 6 and February 7. The coldest ever was -24 set back on Feb. 13, 1905.

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