Protect from the cold

Kenton Apple running the course in Regina's Victoria Park. (Britainy Robinson/CBC)

Plan ahead, and dress warmly

Check weather forecasts before heading out to an event. Think about how much time you'll be spending outdoors and plan your activities in such a way to minimize the amount of time you will be exposed to the cold.

  • Dress in layers with a wind-resistant outer layer.
  • Wear a toque and insulated mittens or gloves. You should also have something to keep your face warm, like a scarf or neck tube.
  • Wear warm and waterproof footwear. 
  • Cover as much exposed skin as possible. Your body's extremities, such as the ears, noe, fingers and toes lose heat the fastest. 

When the wind chill is significant, get out of the wind and limit the time you spend outside. Wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Remove outer layers of clothing or open your coat if you are sweating.

Here's what you'll need to watch out for as the wind chill gets colder:

Wind Chill between -10 and -27

There exists a risk of hypothermia if you are outside for long periods without adequate protection.

Wind Chill between -28 and -39

Exposed skin can freeze in 10 to 30 minutes. Frostnip and frostbite become a real possibility, and hypothermia becomes more likely if outside for long periods without adequate clothing.

Hypothermia

A drop in body temperature (below the normal 37°C). Shivering, confusion, and loss of muscular control (e.g., difficulty walking) can occur.
It can progress to a life-threatening condition where shivering stops or the person loses consciousness. Cardiac arrest may occur.

What to do
Get medical attention immediately. Lay the person down and avoid rough handling, particularly if the person is unconscious. Get the person indoors. Gently remove wet clothing. Warm the person gradually and slowly using available sources of heat.

Frostnip

A mild form of frostbite, where only the skin freezes. Skin appears yellowish or white, but feels soft to the touch. Accompanied by a painful tingling or burning sensation.

What to do
Do not rub or massage the area. Warm the area gradually - use body heat (a warm hand) or warm water. Avoid direct heat which can burn the skin. Once the affected area is warm, do not re-expose it to the cold.

Frostbite

A more severe condition, where both the skin and the underlying tissue (fat, muscle, bone) are frozen. The skin appears white and waxy, and is hard to the touch. There is no sensation - the area is numb.

What to do
Frostbite can be serious, and can result in amputation. Get medical help!
Do not rub or massage the area. Do not warm the area until you can ensure it will stay warm. Warm the area gradually; use body heat or warm water (40°C to 42°C). Avoid direct heat which can burn the skin.