Public health issues cold weather alert for extended period of low temperatures

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Oxford County Public Health & Emergency Services has issued a cold weather alert for Oxford County today, with the temperature dropping below -15°C and wind chill values in the -20s.

Cold weather alerts are issued when Environment Canada forecasts an air temperature below -15˚C or a wind chill below -20˚C.

Conditions are expected to only slightly improve by Friday with a daytime high of -9°C.

During a cold weather alert, residents should take precautions to protect themselves from the cold to avoid complications such as frostbite and hypothermia.

Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops below 35˚C, affecting the ability to think clearly and move well. If you suspect hypothermia, call 911. The warning signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Infants may have red, cold skin and very low energy. Hypothermia is a medical emergency—get medical attention immediately.

Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Signs of frostbite include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness. If you think you have frostbite, seek medical care.

Those most vulnerable to the effects of the cold include older adults, infants and young children, outdoor workers, those who like outdoor sports such as skiing and hiking, and homeless persons and others who do not have shelter, proper clothing or food.

Inn Out of the Cold offers shelter to homeless adults during the winter months between 7 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. at Old St. Paul's Anglican Church, 723 Dundas Street, Woodstock. People arriving after 11 p.m. must be accompanied by police. Inn Out of the Cold can be contacted through Operation Sharing at 519-539-3361. The Salvation Army in Woodstock’s Emergency Housing also provides temporary housing to families for a period of up to six weeks. This program can be reached by calling 519-532-2649 and leaving a message.

For more information on Public Health’s extreme weather alerts visitwww.oxfordcounty.ca/health. For more information on emergency shelters, call 211 or visit www.211ontario.ca.

 

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