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Extreme cold puts everyone at risk however, the risks are greater for young children, older adults, and people with chronic illnesses, people working or exercising outdoors, and those without proper shelter. Adverse health effects can occur as a direct result of exposure to excessive cold such as hypothermia and frostbite.

Hypothermia Signs/Symptoms:
Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling/uncoordinated movements, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness.
Frostbite Signs/Symptoms:
White/grayish skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, or numbness.
Consult a healthcare provider or call Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000 or TTY at 1-877-797-0007) if you experience any of the above symptoms.
  • If you must go outside, cover up and dress warmly with several layers. The outer layer should be wind resistant. Frostbite can develop within minutes to exposed skin, especially with wind chill. Avoid overexertion when shovelling snow and take several breaks.
  • Check on older family, friends and neighbors.
  • Bring pets inside and move livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
Accumulating snow and/or extreme cold can damage/disrupt critical infrastructure which could result in power outages, road closures, delay or cancellation of air or other travel means, major traffic accidents, burst pipes, etc. Travel may be hazardous due to sudden changes in the weather. Accumulating snow may cause surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots to become difficult to navigate. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times due to heavy or blowing snow.
  • Carrying an emergency car kit and a mobile phone, as well as keep others informed of travel schedules and destinations.
  • Prepare a 72-hour emergency kit in the event that there is a power outage or other impacts to critical infrastructure, as well as consider and prepare alternative means for heat that are safe indoors.
  • Continue to monitor local forecasts for public weather alerts and exercise appropriate caution if you must travel.

 

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