The risk of frostbite continues to loom in the Pembina Valley with temperatures dipping below -30 adjusted for wind chill values tonight. While temperatures will rise again on Sunday, lows of minus 25 will be the norm heading into next week.
Health Minister and Morden-Winkler MLA Cameron Friesen reminds residents exposure to cold can result in frostbite or hypothermia. The risk rises for older adults, infants, and young children, newcomers to Canada, the homeless and outdoor workers.
Friesen notes dressing in multiple layers and covering exposed skin is key, as well as never leaving infants and young children unattended and ensuring they are dressed appropriately.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Friesen says having a buddy who can offer immediate assistance in an emergency could save your life.
Avoiding alcohol before going out into the cold is also important as alcohol increases the risk of hypothermia by contributing to heat loss.
The warning signs for cold-related illnesses include uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness or exhaustion, and confusion or slurred speech. Infants may have very low energy and bright red cold skin. A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious and may not seem to have a pulse or to be breathing. If emergency medical care is needed for someone who may have frostbite or hypothermia, move them to a warm place if possible and call for help.
Before going out, check the weather and prepare accordingly. Taking regular breaks to warm up is key, and it's recommended pets and other animals are brought to shelter with non-frozen drinking water.
If traveling, remember to check road conditions before departing and make sure to winterize your vehicle by keeping gas tanks full, using winter tires and keeping a well-stocked winter safety kit in vehicles. More information can be found at www.getprepared.gc.ca/index-eng.aspx.
If stranded, remain in the vehicle if possible until help is available. Avoid driving or traveling by car in bad weather or when roads are very slippery.