Elgin County – The Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Franklin Warsh, has issued a COLD WEATHER ALERT for Elgin County. Based on the Environment Canada weather information, ambient air temperatures have fallen below -15° Celsius and the wind chill factor is predicted to be in the -27° point. While day time high temperatures will rise above the -15° C temperature, night time temperatures and wind chills are predicted to be extremely cold until at least Thursday.
The residents of Elgin County should take precautions during this cold weather alert. Overexposure to cold may result in hypothermia, which occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below normal. Normal body temperature ranges from 36.1 to 37.8° Celsius (97 to 100° Fahrenheit).
Symptoms of hypothermia may include:
- pale skin
- confusion and hallucinations
- In the initial stages a person may shiver considerably, but as their body temperature drops, shivering may also decrease
In a severe case of hypothermia a person may display the following symptoms:
- the person is unconscious
- breathing is shallow
- pulse is irregular and hard to detect
If someone is found with these symptoms, immediate emergency medical treatment is necessary to prevent coma or death.
If you suspect someone may be suffering from hypothermia:
- seek medical attention immediately
- if possible, move the person to a warm area and dress them in warm clothing
- offer warm water, juice or milk
- do not offer alcohol or hot drinks
To avoid hypothermia or frostbite people are advised to:
- dress warmly; layer clothing
- wear a hat – 30% of body heat escapes through the head
- drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration (please note that drinks containing caffeine can dehydrate)
- avoid alcohol
- limit outdoor activity
Symptoms of frostbite include:
- skin turning red, blue or a gray/white
- pain, numbness and stiffness, especially in fingers, toes, ears and nose which are most susceptible
If you suspect frostbite:
- warm the affected area next to warmer skin or immerse in warm, not hot water
- do not rub the area; re-warming may take 30-60 minutes
- seek emergency medical treatment for a severe, blistering case of frostbite
What The Public Can Do During A Cold Weather Alert
Members of the public can help by checking on elderly and handicapped neighbours to ensure they are not experiencing any difficulties related to cold temperatures and to call Emergency Services for help if needed.
Parents should ensure that children walking home from school are adequately protected from the harsh weather conditions. Consider providing transportation for children with long walks home from school.
For more information go to www.elginhealth.on.ca