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Health Unit warns of the dangers of a frigid winter

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Another Canadian winter is here! The Health Unit wants you to know Frostbite and Hypothermia are real potential dangers especially for individuals who are out in the elements for long periods of time.

Frostbite is the freezing of skin and the layers of tissue underneath the skin. It usually occurs when temperatures drop below -4 degrees Celsius. Frostbite is hard to feel, so when enjoying the outdoors make sure to check for white or grey spots on skin or areas that have lost feeling. Sometimes tingling or pain can be a warning sign of frostbite. Frostbite usually occurs in hands, feet, nose and ears.

Hypothermia takes place when heat is lost from your body faster than your body can create it. This can be very dangerous because once body temperature goes too low, an individual is not able to think clearly. Hypothermia requires immediate medical attention. Signs of hypothermia include: shivering, loss of memory, lethargy, slurred speech or loss of consciousness. If you see any of these symptoms, get medical attention right away.

The Health Unit wants you to remember these tips during cold winter weather:

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– Wear layers of warm dry clothing to block the wind

– Drink warm non-alcoholic beverages

– Be aware of how your medications or health conditions may put you at risk

and – Be aware of the early signs of frostbite and hypothermia

For more info, go to www.healthunit.org.

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