Forecasted high winds and cold temperatures have led to Environment Canada issuing an extreme cold warning for Chatham-Kent.
The current forecast is predicting wind chill values of minus 30°C to minus 35C tonight through Saturday morning.
These conditions create an elevated risk to health, such as frostbite and hypothermia.
Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops below normal. Normal body temperature ranges from 36.1C to 37.8C (97 F to 100 F).
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, and their pulse is irregular and hard to detect. Individuals with these symptoms require immediate emergency medical treatment.
If you suspect someone may be suffering from hypothermia, seek medical attention immediately; move the person to warm area if possible and dress them in warm clothing; offer warm water, juice or milk, don’t offer alcohol or hot drinks as alcohol alters blood flow, making surface blood vessels open wider allowing the body to lose heat faster, providing a false sense of being warmer.
To avoid frostbite or hypothermia, dress warmly in layers, with warm gloves and boots. Wear a hat, as 30 per cent of body heat escapes through the head. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration (drinks containing caffeine can dehydrate). Limit outdoor activity.
Remember not to leave pets outside for long, as they are also at risk from overexposure to extreme cold temperatures.
For more information, contact CK Public Health at 519-355-1071, or visit www.ckpulichealth.com.