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Seasonal Safety Tips

EMS Patch on shoulder of paramedic

Cold Weather Safety Tips:

Hypothermia and frostbite can be avoided by following the guidelines below:

  • Layer clothing - build layers of breathable material (cotton, wool) which include thermal underwear, undershirt, track suits, sweaters, snowsuits, winter boots, hats, mitts and scarves.
  • Cover exposed skin - exposed skin can become frostbitten in as little as 30 seconds.
  • Keep moving - try to limit sitting time to allow circulation to all body parts better.
  • Blankets and portable seat/cushion -sitting on a blanket or portable seat instead of cold pavement or concrete will limit the risk of hypothermia.
  • Drink fluids - dehydration can occur even when the temperature is below freezing. Hot chocolate is a great way to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages - alcohol diminishes the body's ability to feel the cold and may result in increased exposure time.
  • Signs of hypothermia - confusion, lethargy, weakness, apathy, pale skin colour.
  • Signs of frostbite - pale grey, waxy textured skin in affected area which is cold to the touch, numbness and localized pain, swelling and blistering.
  • Safe snow shovelling - proper preparation, the right tools, good technique and knowledge.

Hot Weather Safety Tips

Hyperthermia and heat exhaustion can be avoiding by following the guidelines below:

  • Avoid heavy layers of clothing and wear breathable materials.
  • Wear sunglasses and protect exposed skin from the sun, with hats etc.
  • Use sunscreen while in the sun, and reapply as required.
  • Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, including pets!
  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:

    • Infants and young children
    • People aged 65 or older
    • People who have a mental illness
    • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure

Stay up to date on current heat alerts and weather information from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit