Frigid temperatures and bitterly cold winds are expected to linger longer in the London and Middlesex region, prompting the Middlesex-London Health Unit to extend its Cold Weather Alert for one more day. Originally set to end tomorrow, the Alert will now be extended until Sunday morning. The current Environment Canada forecast calls for windchill values to reach a low of -24 on Saturday, exceeding the Health Unit’s threshold for an Alert. This Cold Weather Alert will remain in effect until Sunday morning, December 25th with the windchill expecting to fall below the threshold.
The Health Unit issues Cold Weather Alerts when forecast temperatures are expected to drop to -15°C or lower, or when Environment Canada advises that windchill values are expected to be -20 or lower.
Anyone planning on being outdoors over the next few days are reminded to prepare for the conditions, including dressing warmly in layers and limiting the amount of time spent outside.
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
Morgan Lobzun, Communications Coordinator, Middlesex-London Health Unit 519-617-0571 (cell).
David Pavletic, Food Safety & Healthy Environments Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit