Take Safety Precautions During Extreme Cold Weather

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Niagara Region Public Health issued a cold weather alert yesterday and would like to remind residents of precautions to take when an alert is issued. Extreme cold occurs when temperatures drop significantly below the average for that time of the year. Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause serious or sometimes even life-threatening health problems, such as hypothermia.

During extreme cold those most at risk include: infants (under 1 year), individuals 65 years of age or older, the homeless, outdoor workers, sport enthusiasts (skiers, ice skaters), people living in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat, and people living in homes without power (usually due to other weather-related events such as a winter storm). Cold-related injuries can be avoided by following these cold weather safety tips:

* Cover exposed skin (exposed skin can become frostbitten in 30 seconds)

* Wear a hat (up to 40 per cent of body heat loss can occur through the head)

* Wear gloves or mittens, and a scarf to protect the chin, lips, and cheeks

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* Canadian Paediatric Society recommends keeping children indoors if the temperature falls below –25° Celsius, or if the wind chill is –28° Celsius or greater

* Drink warm fluids – but not caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly

* Wear clothes in layers: inner layer, middle layer, and outer layer

* Keep moving. Limit time sitting – stand up and move around

* Take shelter from the wind – this can reduce wind chill exposure

* Always be alert for signs of frostbite and hypothermia

As a reminder, please check in on neighbours who may be at risk during extreme cold weather.

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