Ottawa Local and International News
: Feb 07, 2018

Ottawa Public Health has issued an overnight frostbite advisory for the city.

The wind chill Wednesday night and into Thursday morning could make things feel as cold as –25. 

The public health agency issues frostbite advisories when the wind chill is expected to hit –25 and below.

Frostbite warnings, meanwhile, occur when the wind chill reaches –35 or colder, or when there are extreme weather conditions such as a blizzard or an ice storm.

According to health officials, here's everything you need to know to avoid, detect and treat frostbite:

  • Get to a warm area before frostbite sets in.
  • If it's too cold outside, consider staying indoors.
  • Keep extra mittens and gloves in the car, house or backpack.
  • Wear larger mittens over your gloves.
  • Wear a scarf to protect the chin, lips and cheeks, as they're all extremely susceptible to frostbite.
  • Wear two pairs of socks — wool if possible.
  • Keep your feet warm and dry.
  • Do not drink alcohol, which narrows blood vessels and promotes frostbite and hypothermia.

If you are wondering if you might have frostbite, there are four signs. Health officials call them the four "P's":

  • Pink: skin turns reddish in colour (the first sign).
  • Pain: body parts become painful.
  • Patches: white, waxy-feeling patches show when skin starts to die.
  • Pricklies: body parts feel numb.

If you do notice you have frostbite, Ottawa Public Health advises you do the following:

  • Do not rub or massage affected areas, which may cause more damage.
  • Warm up the area slowly.
  • Use a warm compress or your own body heat to re-warm the area, but don't use a compress that's too hot. Underarms are a good place.
  • If toes or feet are frostbitten, try not to walk on them.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you see white-or-grey-coloured patches or if the area is numb.

Paramedics advise residents to seek immediate medical attention if you notice severe frostbite. Temperatures below –40 C can cause frostbite within 10 minutes.

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Overnight frostbite advisory issued for Ottawa