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Stay safe in cold weather

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It's important to prepare before heading outside in the cold weather. Whether you're heading out for a quick trip or participating in outdoor activities, it is important to take the appropriate precautions.

In order to prevent frostbite and hypothermia, Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service suggests the following:

  • Wear a hat and clothing made of tightly woven fibers (such as wool) which trap warm air against your body. A few lighter layers protect better than one heavy garment.
  • Protect vulnerable areas such as fingers, toes, ears and nose.
  • Drink plenty of warm fluids to help the body maintain its temperature. If hot drinks are not available, drink plenty of plain water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which hinder the body's heat-producing mechanisms and will actually cause the body's core temperature to drop.
  • Take frequent breaks from the cold to let your body warm up.


Signs of frostbite include numbness, tingling, pain and swelling. As the condition worsens you will experience a total loss of sensation, pale waxy skin will become dark bluish and in severe cases, the skin could look burnt.

Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service suggests the following for dealing with frostbite:

  • Cover the affected area.
  • Never rub the skin as this may cause further damage.
  • Warm the area gently by immersing the affected part in water that is warm and comfortable to the touch. Continue until affected area is warm and looks red.
  • Bandage the affected area with a dry sterile dressing.
  • Ensure that the affected part does not become frozen again.
  • Get the person to medical attention as soon as possible (local emergency department or call 911).

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