London, ON – One day following the first official day of winter, The Middlesex-London Health Unit is issuing a Cold Weather Alert for tomorrow, December 23rd as winter weather and strong winds drive windchill values to -25 degrees C in the afternoon and -12 degrees C overnight. This Cold Weather Alert will remain in effect until the morning of Saturday, December 24th, with a daytime high of -8 degrees C.
The Health Unit issues Cold Weather Alerts when forecast temperatures are expected to drop to -15 degrees C or lower, or when Environment Canada advises that windchill values are expected to be -20 or lower.
“As holiday season festivities begin so does winters cold temperatures and weather. With these changes, it can take a negative toll on our bodies and health if not properly protected,”
says David Pavletic, Food Safety & Healthy Environments Manager with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “The Health Unit’s advice remains to limit any time you spend outdoors when Cold Weather Alerts are in effect. However, if it is necessary to be outdoors, remember to take the proper precautions to protect yourself, such as, dressing for the conditions and cover exposed skin to prevent cold-related illness or injuries.”
Cold conditions and strong winds can damage exposed skin and lead to frostbite. Symptoms of frostbite include skin turning red, blue or in later stages, grayish-white. Individuals may experience pain, numbness and stiffness, especially in the fingers, toes, ears and nose, which are most susceptible to the cold. If you suspect frostbite, warm the affected area by placing it next to warmer skin or immerse in warm, but not hot, water. Do not rub the affected area, and seek emergency medical treatment for cases of severe, blistering frostbite. The re-warming process may take up to 60 minutes.
Hypothermia can happen when a person’s internal body temperature drops below normal. Symptoms include pale skin, drowsiness, confusion and hallucinations. While individuals may shiver in the early stages of hypothermia, shivering may decrease as body temperature drops. In severe cases, individuals lose consciousness, their breathing becomes shallow and their pulse becomes irregular and hard to detect. Anyone with these symptoms requires emergency medical treatment in order to prevent coma or death.
For a list of warming centres in the City of London, please visit: https://london.ca/warming-centres
For more information about extreme cold visit: https://www.healthunit.com/extreme-cold