January 22, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Story courtesy of Western News

A cold weather alert has been issued for London including Western’s campus. This alert will remain in effect until Thursday, Jan. 24 when temperatures are expected to rise above -15 degrees C.

Current temperatures are cold enough to damage exposed skin and lead to hypothermia. Everyone is reminded to dress warmly, in layers and cover exposed skin as much as possible. It is also recommended that you limit time spent outdoors.

Overexposure to cold temperatures may result in hypothermia, which occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below normal. Symptoms may include pale skin, lethargy, confusion and hallucinations. Individuals may shiver a lot in the early stages of hypothermia, but shivering may decrease as body temperature continues to drop.

In severe cases of hypothermia individuals lose consciousness, their breathing becomes shallow and their pulse becomes irregular and hard to detect. Anyone with these symptoms requires emergency medical treatment in order to prevent coma or death.

Frostbite can also occur in skin that is overexposed to the cold. Symptoms include skin turning red, blue or a gray/white. Individuals may also experience pain, numbness and stiffness, especially in the fingers, toes, ears and nose, which are most susceptible to the cold.

If you suspect frostbite, warm the affected area by placing it next to warmer skin or immerse in warm, but not hot, water. Do not rub the affected area, and seek emergency medical treatment for cases of severe, blistering frostbite.

The re-warming process may take up to an hour.