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As Manitobans, we're used to the bitter cold temperatures that come along with winter, however, some of us may worry about health effects during the colder months.

Medical Officer of Health for Southern Health-Santé Sud Dr. Michael Routledge says not to fear the cold weather, but just stay safe from the elements.

"By and large I wouldn't want people to be scared of the cold," says Routledge. "It's actually important this time of year to make sure you're staying active and continuing to do the things you do, so as long as you're taking the precautions, and you're dressing warmly. One of the things we do see this time of year is associated with things like ice. People can slip and fall. And there also concerns about the roads and driving. Those are some of the things for which we want people to take precautions."

Routledge notes our health could be at risk if we're in rare circumstances that could cause hypothermia or frostbite.

"Hypothermia and frostbite can occur when something unusual happens, for example, when somebody has car trouble out on the highway and isn't equipped to deal with it," Routledge says. "People are usually doing what they should be doing to prepare for the cold, and that's really just bundling up and being careful when there are extreme temperatures."

He adds, all in all, cases of frostbite or hypothermia are pretty rare to see in emergency rooms.

Routledge also says we may be susceptible to cabin fever, but says we'll be able to maintain our wellness and well-being throughout the season by staying active.

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