After enjoying some milder than usual conditions, winter temperatures are making a return.
Toronto’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, has issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert.
Alerts are issued when the temperature is forecast to hit -15° or colder, or when the windchill is expected to reach -20° or colder.
The forecast calls for the temperature to drop through the day Friday to -9°, but that will feel much colder with the windchill.
Risks of extreme cold
Extreme cold can be harmful to your health. Not only is there the risk of frostbite, but hypothermia, which can lead to organ failure and even death, is also a concern.
Those most at risk for health issues are the homeless, those who have a pre-existing heart condition or respiratory illness, people who work outside, the elderly, infants and young children.
When alerts are issued, local services are activated to get vulnerable people inside. Additional shelter beds are made available and transit tokens are offered at some drop-in centres.
If you spot someone who needs street outreach assistance, call 311, but if it’s an emergency, call 911.
During extreme cold conditions, you should dress in layers, cover all exposed skin and drink warm fluids. It’s also a good idea to call/visit vulnerable friends/family to make sure they’re okay.