Windchill Warning Issued for Oakville: Friday February 28 2014

Windchill Warning Issued for Oakville: Friday February 28 2014
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Environment Canada issued a Windchill Warning for Friday February 28, as the potential for frost bite of exposed skin is high as temperature values hover around minus 30. 

Strong and gusty northwesterly winds are blasting cold Arctic air in the wake of a cold front. As a result wind chills near minus 30 have developed across most of Southern Ontario as the bitterly cold Arctic air mass continues to invade from the northwest. Wind chills will improve this morning as temperatures struggle upward a few degrees under the strengthening late February sun.

Anyone venturing outdoors, especially for an extended period, should dress accordingly with as little exposed skin as possible. So dress in layers with a wind resistant outer layer, wear a hat since a large portion of body heat loss can derive from your head, as well as a scarf, neck tube or facemask to keep your face protected. Warm and waterproof footwear plus mittens or insulated gloves is an absolute must since your body’s extremities loose heat the fastest. Remember to stay dry, so loosen layers should you start sweat.

Keeping out of the wind as well as increasing your activity does keep your body warm. Things to watch for are signs of frostnip, frostbite and hypothermia. Please note that the elderly and particularly children are more susceptible to the cold. The use of Alcohol, tobacco and some medication can increase your sensitivity to the cold.

The following information about Frostnip, Frostbite and Hypothermia was provided by Environment Canada, and does not substitute the need for professional medical assistance. 

Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite where only the skin freezes. The skin appears yellowish or white but still feels soft to the touch. There is a tingling or burning sensation. Do not rub or massage the area, but rather warm the skin gradually using body heat or warm water, and avoid direct heat. Once you’ve warmed the skin do not re-expose it to the cold air.

Frostbite is the a more severe condition where both the skin and underlying tissue are frozen. The skin appears white and waxy and is hard to the touch. The area feels numb. This condition can be serious to the point of requiring amputation, so get medical help as soon as possible. Do not rub or massage the area, and only begin to warm the area if you can make sure it will stay warm. Warm the skin gradually using body heat or warm water up to 40 to 42 degrees Celsius. Direct heat can burn the skin.

Finally Hypothermia is the most severe and occurs when our body’s temperature has dropped below 37 degrees Celsius. It can result in shivering, confusion and even loss of muscular control such as difficultly with walking. If it is allowed to progress the shivering stops, with a possible loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest. Should you be faced with hypothermia seek medical assistance immediately. Lay down and avoid rough handling, get indoors as soon as possible, remove any wet clothing, and warm up gradually and slowly, to avoid having more serious effects.

 

 

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