Extreme Weather Statement

When winter weather drops to very low temperatures, staying warm and safe can become a challenge. With temperatures in Simcoe and Muskoka at or below -15 Celsius, this Extreme Cold Statement is being issued by the  Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to assist with the mobilization of outreach workers and community agencies, and to recommend precautions for the general public.

Exposures to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause other serious or life-threatening health problems. During extreme cold, those most at risk include infants under one year of age, individuals 65 years of age or older, the homeless, outdoor workers, sport enthusiasts (skiers, ice skaters), people living in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat, and people living in homes without power (usually due to other weather-related events such as a winter storm).

Cold-related injuries can be avoided by following these cold weather safety tips:

  • Cover exposed skin (exposed skin can become frostbitten in 30 seconds)
  • Wear a hat (up to 40 per cent of body heat loss can occur through the head).
  • Wear gloves or mittens, and a scarf to protect the chin, lips and cheeks.
  • The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends keeping children indoors if the temperature falls below -25 Celsius, or if the wind chill is -28 Celsius or lower.
  • Drink warm fluids - but not caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.
  • Wear clothes in layers to include an inner layer, a middle layer and an outer layer.
  • Keep moving. Limit time sitting - stand up and move around.
  • Take shelter from the wind - this can reduce wind chill exposure.
  • Always be alert for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

As a reminder, please check in on neighbours and loved ones who may be at risk during extreme cold weather.

For  additional information on Extreme Cold or you can visit at www. simcoemuskokahealth.org or call health connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 to speak with a health professional.