It's another cold week in the capital region.
Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning for the area Tuesday afternoon (Feb.1). Wind chill values brought the temperature below -40 C and should do the same Wednesday night.
When temperatures get this low, especially with the wind, Environment Canada meteorologist Natalie Hasell warns that frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin.
"It's hazardous; this is literally a dangerous weather event. And we want people to take precautions."
She advises everyone to cover up as much exposed skin as possible when going outside and avoid spending prolonged time in the freezing weather.
"The most important part really is to be prepared. Pay attention to the conditions that are happening, behave accordingly, make sure that you have what you need to stay warm."
Children, seniors and people with cardiovascular issues are more susceptible than most. Hasell also explained people with dark skin tend to be more susceptible, and it can be harder to notice frostbite.
Signs of frostbite include a white or greyish-yellow skin area, waxy or firm skin and numbness.
"You take them indoors; you get them to warm up gently. You don't apply direct heat. You don't rub the skin because you could damage it. Then, you don't take them outside again unless you can guarantee that they'll continue to be warm, and depending on the situation, you might need to call or medical assistant as it can lead to permanent skin damage and amputation, neither of which is particularly good."
Hypothermia occurs when the temperature in a person's body core falls below a healthy level. Common signs are shivering, confusion, slurred speech, exhaustion or loss of motor control. Hasell added the later stages of hypothermia could look like the person is drunk or dealing with a diabetic episode.
Hasell concluded by encouraging everyone to have an emergency kit in their vehicles. If something happens, she said to stay in the vehicle as long as it is intact since it will offer shelter instead of walking to try and get help and being exposed to the elements.