Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living wants to remind Manitoba of the potential dangers of cold temperatures and offers some tips on how to stay safe.

Exposure to the cold temperatures can cause frostbite or hypothermia, which can be life-threatening. While everybody can be at risk if not dressed properly, health risks are greatest for:

  • older adults
  • infants and young children
  • people with chronic illnesses
  • newcomers to Canada
  • people who are homeless
  • people living in poorly insulated homes
  • outdoor works
  • outdoor sports enthusiasts

The Province of Manitoba encourages citizens to check on their neighbours, friends, and older family members, especially if they are ill or living alone. Symptoms of cold-related illness could include:

  • discoloured skin
  • tingling, burning sensation or numbness in exposed areas
  • uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness, confusion or slurred speech. Infants may have very low energy and bright red cold skin.

If you suspect a medical emergency for someone, call 911 and move them to a warm place if possible. To avoid an emergency, check the weather report before going outside and dress accordingly. If you have to be outside for a long period of time, take breaks and warm up inside heated buildings like libraries or malls. If the cold is severe, reschedule outdoor activities and/or limit time outside, and if you are participating in outdoor activities, stay on approved paths.

If you are going outside, you can reduce the effects of the cold by:

  • dressing in multiple layers and covering exposed skin
  • wearing wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers
  • wearing water-and-wind proof outer layers
  • choosing warm mittens instead of gloves
  • ensuring children are not left unattended, and are dressed properly
  • having a buddy when enjoying the winter weather

If you have a question, you can call the provincial health line Health Links-Info Sante at 204-788-8200.