5 things to watch out for in spring

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allergy  by cenczi.  CC0

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It is said that there is a good and bad side to everything. Just as the warmer weather, blooming of flowers, and the return of the birds and other animals are part of spring, the following are also very much part of this season:

  1. Flooding

    Also called spring melt or thaw, this is snow and ice melting due to the warmer weather. According to CBC News, five variables determine flood conditions: soil moisture at freeze up in the fall, channel capacity of rivers, moisture levels in snow, the rate of the snow melt and precipitation during spring melt. When these variables are high and river channel capacity is low, the result is massive flooding. Keep a close watch of developments by getting news from Manitoba Government News Flood Bulletins or local news outlets like CBC News Manitoba.

  2. Pothole season

    Pothole season is at hand! When the snow clears, it is a common sight to see these craters on Manitoba’s roads. Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of ground water after it has entered into the ground under the pavement. In winter, frozen water causes the pavement to expand, bend and crack. When the ice melts, the pavement contracts and leaves gaps in the surface. Continued freezing and thawing weakens this spot. The weight of vehicles passing on this weak spot causes the material to be displaced or broken down, thereby forming a pothole (How do potholes form? Summit County Engineer). To survive pothole season, drive with caution. Manitoba crews work round the clock to patch these holes and keep roads safe. If you spot large potholes in your area, call 311 or report it online if you’re in Winnipeg.

  3. Tick season

    Once the snow melts, these insects come out from hiding. As spring starts, Manitobans are warned to look out for wood ticks and blacklegged ticks. Blacklegged ticks are particularly worrisome as they can carry Lyme disease. They are smaller than wood ticks and look like black sesame seeds (male) or brown with black legs (female). If you are going out for hike, take precaution by covering up. Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, closed shoes and socks, and wear bug repellent containing DEET. Do a tick check when you get home. If you catch a tick or were bitten by one, submit a photo of the tick to Manitoba Health to know the next steps you need to take: Manitoba Tick Checker.

  4. Allergy season

    Spring and summer are allergy seasons in Manitoba. If you notice that you sneeze a lot and suffer from cold-like symptoms, it could be a seasonal allergy. Pollen is the most common culprit. It comes from flowers, trees, weeds and grass. April and May are the worst months for tree allergies; June and July for grass allergies. If you suspect that you or anyone in your family is suffering from allergies, note down the usual time and possible triggers for the symptoms. These details will help when you consult your doctor. People prone to allergies can benefit from checking allergy forecasts from Accuweather and pollen forecasts from The Weather Network.

  5. Sudden weather shifts

    Just when you thought it’s safe to keep your winter boots and jacket in the storage bin, Environment Canada puts out a blowing snow warning! Manitoba weather can be unpredictable in spring, so keep your jackets, gloves and tuque still on hand. Add an umbrella for good measure.

    Many people also get sick when the weather changes. Cold and flu are not caused by the change in weather per se (they are caused by viruses), but some studies suggest that shifts in the weather lower the immune system and cause stress. These make your body less able to fight off sickness. A healthy diet, regular exercise and enough sleep can fend off the sniffles. But if you do get sick, it is always best to consult your doctor.

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