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Cold weather alert issued for Chatham-Kent

cold warningThe Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Colby, has issued a Cold Weather Alert for Chatham-Kent for the next two days. Based on the Environment Canada forecast, air temperatures are predicted to fall as low as -22°C overnight.

A Cold Weather Alert goes into effect when Environment Canada:

  • predicts a temperature of -15°C or lower, without wind chill
  • issues a wind chill warning for outdoor activity
  • predicts extreme weather conditions, such as a blizzard or ice storm

Overexposure to cold may result in hypothermia, which occurs when the 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 a lot, but as their body temperature drops shivering may also decrease.

In a severe case of hypothermia a person becomes unconscious, their breathing is shallow, their pulse is irregular and hard to detect. If someone is found with these symptoms, immediate emergency medical treatment is necessary.

Symptoms of frostbite include:

  • Areas of skin turning red, blue or a grey/white
  • Pain, numbness and stiffness, especially in fingers, toes, ears and nose which are most susceptible

If you suspect frostbite:

  • Gently warm the affected skin or immerse in warm, not hot water.
  • Don’t rub the area—re-warming may take 30-60 minutes.
  • Seek emergency medical treatment for a severe, blistering case of frostbite.

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 (alcohol alters blood flow, making surface blood vessels open wider allowing the body to lose heat faster, providing a false sense of being warmer).