With temperatures expected to drop below -15 C over the weekend, an Extreme Cold Weather Alert has been called by Niagara Region Public Health. Temperatures are expected to rise above -15 °C by Monday, February 15, 2016. The Extreme Cold Weather Alert is intended to mobilize outreach workers and community agencies, recommend precautions for the general public during extreme cold weather, and offer information on the location of shelters and additional resources.
During extreme cold, those most at risk include: infants under one year of age, 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
- 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 to include an 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
- Use caution when shovelling snow especially for those that have heart, respiratory (breathing) problems or other medical conditions. Snow shovelling strenuous and can cause an onset of heart or respiratory problems.
- 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.
For more information on when an Extreme Cold Weather Alert is issued or for more precautions, visit www.niagararegion.ca/health or call 905-688-8248 ext. 7269, or toll free at 1-888-505-6074.