With the extreme cold temperatures and wind chills, it’s important that you take precautions to make sure you’re not at risk.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has compiled a list of recommendations in order to make sure everyone stays safe.
When winter weather temperatures become very low, staying warm and safe can become a challenge. With Simcoe Muskoka experiencing significantly low temperatures, you are being advised of this Extreme Cold Warning by the Medical Officer of Health of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to assist with the mobilization of outreach workers and community agencies, and to recommend precautions for the general public.
We are notifying you of this warning because you serve a population that may be at risk. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is recommending precautions be taken to support those who are most vulnerable:
- Homeless people
- Outdoor workers
- Sports enthusiasts (skiers, ice skaters)
- People living in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat
- People living in homes without power (usually due to other weather related events such as a winter storm)
- Children and infants (under 1 year). Infants lose body heat more easily than adults.
- People 65 years of age or older.
- Those suffering from chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular or respiratory diseases and diabetes
Cold-related health issues can be avoided by following these cold weather safety tips while outdoors:
- 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, nose and cheeks.
- On sunny days wear sun glasses, lip balm and sunscreen to protect your skin from UV and keep it moisturized to help prevent windburn.
- Wear a face mask and goggles if you are participating in winter activities such as skiing, snowmobiling and skating to protect your face from frostbite and windburn.
- The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends keeping children indoors if the temperature falls below -25 Celsius, or if the wind chill is -28 Celsius or lower.
- Drink warm fluids – but not caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.
- Avoid alcohol. Consuming alcohol before you go out in the cold may increase your risk of hypothermia because it increases blood flow to the extremities of the body.
- Wear clothes in layers to include an inner layer, a middle layer and an outer layer that is wind resistant.
- Take shelter from the wind – this can reduce wind chill exposure.
- Always be alert for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. If you experience these symptoms when exposed to the cold, move indoors and begin warming and seek medical attention.
- Respiratory: shortness of breath, wheezing and cough
- Cardiovascular: chest pain and arrhythmia
- Circulation: colour change of finger and toes, pain, numbness and tickling sensation in extremities
- Muscle: pain, stiffness, swelling, restricted movement, weakness
- Skin: itching, pale.
As a reminder, please check in on neighbours and loved ones who may be at risk during extreme cold weather.
For additional information on Extreme Cold and how you can protect yourself and those who are most vulnerable, you can visit at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org or call Health Connection at (705) 721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 to speak with a health professional.