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Walking in a winter wonderland has serious risks: Public Health

Public Health reminds residents to stay safe this winter
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NEWS RELEASE
WELLINGTON-DUFFERIN-GUELPH PUBLIC HEALTH
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Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is reminding residents to stay safe this winter. Whenever temperatures are expected to be dangerously low, Environment Canada will issue an extreme cold weather warning for the region – so be on the lookout for these warnings, but better yet, make a habit of always looking ahead at the forecast for the next few days.

A cold weather warning is issued in Southwestern Ontario when the temperature or wind chill is expected to reach minus 30°C for at least two hours.

“Walking through a winter wonderland and being exposed to extreme cold comes with serious risks,” says Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. “Know what you are facing when you or your loved ones are heading outdoors. Dress accordingly and plan to have places to warm up and check in with anyone who might be at risk.”

Frostbite occurs when blood flow to your extremities is restricted because of the cold. Exposed skin can become frostbitten in minutes and in severe cases frostbite can result in amputation.

Extreme cold can also be life threatening. Prolonged exposure to extreme cold can result in hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops too low, and it can lead to organ failure and death.

Public Health recommends taking a number of important precautions for extreme cold weather. Most importantly, make a daily habit of checking the weather and planning accordingly. Limit your time outside when the temperature drops. Cover exposed skin by dressing in layers with a wind-resistant and waterproof outer layer. Also, remember to maintain your household heating system and ensure it’s ready for the winter season.

Remember to check in with vulnerable family members and neighbours when it’s very cold to make sure they are safe. For more information about extreme cold weather precautions click here.

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