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Bitter Cold Returns

For the fifth time this winter, the Middlesex London Health Unit has issued a Cold Weather Alert for the area.

Overnight temperatures are expected to drop to -15 C Wednesday, with similar lows expected Thursday and Friday nights. That has local health officials reminding anyone planning on spending time outdoors to bundle up to avoid any possible cold-related injuries.

“Even though cold temperatures like these are an expected part of winter, we often underestimate the impact it can have on our bodies. With proper planning and foresight there’s no reason why we can’t prevent cold-related health concerns and injuries,” said Randy Walker, public health inspector with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “Being aware of local weather forecasts and dressing for the conditions are important steps in preventing cold-related injuries, like hypothermia and frostbite.”

People planning to venture outdoors are advised to dress in layers and wear a hat and insulated gloves or mittens. Skin overexposed to the cold can be effected by frostbite within minutes. Symptoms include skin turning red, blue, or in later stages, a gray/white colour. Fingers, toes, ears, and nose, are the most susceptible to the cold. Re-warming frostbitten skin can take up to 60 minutes.

Symptoms of hypothermia include pale skin, lethargy, confusion, and hallucinations. Severe cases can cause a loss of consciousness, shallow breathing, and a hard to detect pulse. Anyone exhibiting these symptoms should be taken for immediate medical treatment.

Local agencies that offer shelter of assistance to the homeless are being told to prepare for an increase in demand for their services. Anyone who sees a person in distress due to the cold is advised to call London CAReS at 519-667-2273 or 911 if it is a medical emergency. A list of London warming centres can be found by clicking here.

The Cold Weather Alert is expected to last until Saturday.