Extreme Cold and Hypothermia
Extreme cold means the outdoor temperatures drop below the average for that time of year. Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious and sometimes even life-threatening health problems. Although everyone is at risk, some groups are more vulnerable including:
- Children and infants;
- Homeless people;
- Outdoor workers;
- Skiers/ice skaters;
- People living in poorly insulated homes or without power; and,
- People with asthma.
Health effects of extreme cold exposure: Hypothermia
Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature is less than 35 degrees C(95 degrees F). Symptoms of hypothermia may include:
- Low energy; and,
- Pale skin colour.
If someone has hypothermia, remove their wet clothing and bring them to a warm place. Warm the person gradually with several layers of blankets and seek medical attention immediately.
Here are some general tips to help keep warm during extremely cold weather periods:
- Cover exposed skin;
- Wear a hat, scarf and gloves and wear clothes in layers;
- Keep children indoors if the temperature falls below -25 degrees C(-13 degrees F), or if the wind chill is -28 degrees C(-18 degrees F) or greater;
- Drink warm fluids, avoiding beverages with caffeine and alcohol;
- Find shelter from the wind to reduce wind exposure; and,
- Listen to the weather forecast and plan ahead accordingly: