Cold Weather Alert Issued For Elgin County

Monday January 5, 2015 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Elgin County – The Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Joyce Lock, has issued its first COLD WEATHER ALERT for 2015 in Elgin County following Environment Canada’s forecast wind chill of -26° C today. Daily temperatures are expected to fluctuate and be close to the minus 15 ° C temperature, that is used as one of the criteria for issuing a Cold Weather Alert over the next few days until Thursday.

This 1st Cold Weather Alert for 2015 will be in effect today, Monday January 5, 2015 until Thursday January 8, 2015.

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
  • lethargy
  • 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.

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