As dipping temperatures bring a risk of frostbite, here is how to be protected from the elements.
Despite a milder winter, Manitobans continue to be at risk for cold-related health issues such as hypothermia and frostbite. With shelters and other communal warming areas closed for the season, the Province of Manitoba is stressing the importance of preparing for the cold.
They say if going outside, to assure adequate clothing is worn and to take breaks from the cold in places such as shopping malls.
Cold Weather Consequences
If doing outdoor activities, it is suggested to have a "buddy" to go with and avoid leaving a warm shelter in extreme cold.
Consequences of being too cold include:
- discoloured skin (whitish, yellow, grey, or blistered);
- tingling, burning sensation, or numbness to exposed areas.
- uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness or exhaustion, confusion, or slurred speech;
- very low energy and bright red cold skin in infants; and
- severe hypothermia may cause loss of consciousness and the appearance of no pulse or breathing.
What to Wear
Assuring there is no exposed skin is important to stay warm during the winter.
The province suggests Manitobans wear:
- multiple layers of clothing
- wool, silk or polypropylene materials for inner clothing garments such as long underwear
- waterproof and windproof outer layers
- mittens instead of gloves
They also ask to assure children are dressed for the weather and not be left unattended.
Who is Vulnerable:
- older adults
- infants and young children
- people with chronic illnesses, such as a heart condition
- newcomers to Canada
- people living in homes that are poorly insulated
- outdoor workers
- outdoor sports enthusiasts
- other vulnerable people, like those experiencing homelessness
When outside with pets, assure the animal is warm enough and has unfrozen water to drink.
COVID-19 Public Health Orders create indoor gathering restrictions, which is creating an issue for the unsheltered population in need of warm refuge. End Homelessness Winnipeg's Extreme Weather Response Committee has created a plan with stakeholders such as community groups, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and government organizations to keep Winnipeggers safer during hazardous winter weather.
"The Plan offers information on winter weather hazards, prevention and response information for cold weather injuries and illnesses, as well as resources available in the community for those seeking shelter and assistance with basic needs," End Homelessness Winnipeg says in a statement.
Their plan includes locating warming shelters such as the one at Main Street Project, and how to access washrooms and find meals.
While travelling for nonessential purposes is discouraged, the province asks Manitobans making long treks to keep gas tanks full, use winter tires and keep a well-stocked winter safety kit in the vehicle.
If stranded, the province is asking people to stay in their vehicles.