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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Dropping Temperatures Tonight, Continued Cold This Weekend Prompt Cold Alert

With the current Environment Canada forecast calling for temperatures to drop quickly tonight, and to reach -15°C overnight this weekend, frigid temperatures are returning to the Middlesex-London region. The Middlesex-London Health Unit is issuing a Cold Weather Alert that will be in effect starting tonight and continuing until Monday.

“The rapid drop in temperature expected tonight will be a quick change from the warmer weather we’ve been experiencing this week,” says Randy Walker, Public Health Inspector with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “We need to prepare and to make sure that we’re not caught in the extreme cold unexpectedly. At these temperatures, the cold can damage exposed skin in a matter of a few minutes.”

Anyone spending time outdoors is asked to prepare for cold conditions by staying warm and dry. Wearing a hat and insulated gloves or mittens is recommended, as body heat is easily lost through any exposed skin.

It’s important to not underestimate the dangers of cold weather. Overexposure may result in hypothermia, which occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below normal. Symptoms can include pale skin, lethargy, confusion and hallucinations. Individuals may shiver in early stages of hypothermia, but shivering may decrease as body temperature drops. In severe cases, individuals lose consciousness, their breathing becomes shallow and their pulse becomes irregular and hard to detect. Anyone with these symptoms requires emergency medical treatment in order to prevent coma or death.

Frostbite can also occur in skin that is overexposed to the cold. Symptoms include skin turning red, blue or in later stages, a gray/white colour. Individuals may also experience pain, numbness and stiffness, especially in the fingers, toes, ears and nose, which are most susceptible to the cold. If you suspect frostbite, warm the affected area by placing it next to warmer skin or immerse in warm, but not hot, water. Do not rub the affected area, and seek emergency medical treatment for cases of severe, blistering frostbite. The rewarming process may take up to 60 minutes.

The Health Unit is also advising local agencies that provide shelter and assistance to the homeless to prepare for an increase in demand for their services.

If you see someone who is outdoors and in distress due to the cold, contact London CAReS at 519-667-2273. If you feel the situation is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1. To view a list of warming centres in the City of London, please visit

Media Contact:

Dan Flaherty
Communications Manager
Middlesex-London Health Unit
519-663-5317 ext 2469 or 519-617-0570
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