Cold weather health warning from KFL&A Health Unit


Environment Canada's forecast is calling for wind chill temperatures values of -35°C to -45°C in the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington region, KFL&A Public Health is issuing a Cold Weather Health Warning continuing into Friday morning and again Friday night into Saturday morning.

Environment Canada issues an extreme cold weather warning in Southeastern Ontario when the temperature or windchill is expected to reach -35°C for at least two hours. When the temperature drops below -25°C or the wind chill is below -28°C, children and seniors should take precautions to avoid the effects of the cold or be kept indoors to avoid cold injuries.  KFL&A Public Health also communicates extreme weather information to community service providers, municipalities, schools, long-term care homes, and emergency service providers to ensure that vulnerable groups are taken into consideration.

The Health Unit says very cold weather brings an increased risk of hypothermia for people who stay outside for long periods of time without adequate protection. They add that overexposure to cold temperatures can result in severe injury. People at greatest risk from cold injuries include infants, the elderly, the homeless, outdoor workers, recreation enthusiasts and people who consume excess alcohol.

The Medical Officer of Health recommends that residents take the following actions to prevent cold injuries, such as hypothermia and frostbite:   

- Wear several layers of clothing and make sure that the outer layer protects you from wind and wetness.
- Cover exposed skin to protect against frostbite.
- Drink warm fluids that do not contain caffeine or alcohol, to prevent dehydration.
- Maintain a heated indoor environment above 20°C; hypothermia can even occur indoors when temperatures are 16°C (61°F) or lower.
- Avoid outdoor strenuous exercise during cold spells.
- Check frequently on elderly and vulnerable people
- Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia

With files by CFRA's Connor Ray