Staying healthy throughout the winter with the Canadian Red Cross

Topics: National, First Aid and CPR
February 07, 2013

Staying healthy throughout the winter with the Canadian Red Cross

Winter is often one of the most satisfying times of year for families to bond in the great outdoors. However, the season can also pose a unique set of risks. By learning more about cold-related emergencies, men and women throughout the country can prevent incidents from happening and pick up on the signs of an incident more quickly.

The risks of frostbite
As one of Canada's most active charity organizations, the Canadian Red Cross plays an important role in educating people across Canada on the basics of first aid and CPR protection.

During the winter months, frostbite can wreak havoc on the lives of Canadians who spend time outdoors and result in serious, long-term health problems.

Frostbite can strike when body tissues freeze and most often occurs in the fingers, toes, ears and nose of people who have spent time outside. The skin of people who are affected by frostbite typically grows pale before turning white and wax-like.

People who are exposed in an outdoor area with wind chills between -28 and -39 degrees are at increased risk of developing frostbite on parts of skin left exposed for 10 to 30 minutes. In climates where the wind chill exceeds -55 degrees, skin can freeze after being exposed for only two minutes.

Recognizing the signs of an emergency
People who are outside in the cold for prolonged periods face many hazards, including frostbite and hypothermia.

Signs of hypothermia include:
• Shivering and complaining of the cold
• Numbness in the fingers or toes
• Lack of coordination and delayed speech
• Body temperature lower than normal
• Impaired judgment
• Unusual behavior
• Glassy eyes
• Unconsciousness or lack of breathing

If you're with an individual and you believe he or she may be in danger due to exposure in cold weather, you should immediately call 911, get the person into a shelter, remove cold or wet clothing and place him or her near a heat source. You can also wrap him or her in blankets or additional layers of clothing to provide warmth.

Make a difference
The winter season can be a time of fun for families due to the wide variety of outdoor activities that are possible in the snow, yet the cold weather that rises during this period can be hazardous.

The first aid and CPR programs offered by the Canadian Red Cross help people in need learn valuable skills that can allow them to respond to emergencies if they occur.

To show your support for the work of the Canadian Red Cross today, please make a donation online or at your local Canadian Red Cross office today.

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