Public Health & Emergency Services has issued the first cold weather alert of the 2013-2014 winter season for Oxford County. The alert is issued following Environment Canada’s forecast of temperatures reaching -24˚C today with the wind chill.
Residents of Oxford County are reminded to take precautions to protect themselves from the cold. Those at risk include older adults, infants and young children, outdoor workers, those who like outdoor sports such as skiing and hiking, and homeless persons and others who do not have shelter, proper clothing or food.
Over-exposure to cold may lead to complications such as frostbite, particularly in the extremities (finger and toes) or any exposed skin, and hypothermia, which occurs when body temperature drops below 35˚C, affecting the ability to think clearly and move well. If you suspect hypothermia, call 911.
The warning signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Infants may have red, cold skin and very low energy. Hypothermia is a medical emergency—get medical attention immediately.
Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Signs of frostbite include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness. If you think you have frostbite, seek medical care. BACKGROUND
A cold weather alert is issued when current or anticipated weather conditions are at or below -15 degrees Celsius or -20 with wind chill, or when there are extreme weather conditions, such as a blizzard or ice storm. To view the Public Health backgrounder, “Protecting your health in cold weather,” visit www.oxfordcounty.ca/health.