Frostbite Alert for Sunday Feb 9

Written by admin, February 7, 2014

February 7, 2014 – The Peterborough Public Health has issued a Frostbite Alert starting Sunday, February 9 because of a forecasted wind chill of -29.

Extreme cold events are a potentially significant health risk and can have a severe impact on the health of vulnerable populations including infants, the elderly, people with circulatory problems, and the marginally housed.  Local social service agencies rely on Public Health frostbite alerts to determine if services should be extended or enhanced.

In order to protect the health of people in Peterborough County and City and Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations, Public Health advises local residents to take the following precautions:

  • Check face and extremities frequently for signs of frostbite. Exposed skin can freeze in as little as 10 to 30 minutes.
  • Consider re-scheduling outdoor recreational activities, especially during the evening. There is a serious risk of hypothermia if outdoors for long periods.
  • Use caution when shoveling snow especially for those that have heart, respiratory (breathing) problems or other medical conditions. Snow shoveling is strenuous and can cause an onset of heart or respiratory problems.
  • Check on the elderly or people with disabilities living alone.


Frostbite can permanently damage the body. The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.  Since frostbite and hypothermia both result from exposure, first check whether the victim also shows signs of hypothermia.

Warnings signs of hypothermia:



  • shivering, exhaustion
  • confusion, fumbling hands
  • memory loss, slurred speech
  • drowsiness



  • bright red, cold skin
  • very low energy


Hypothermia is a very serious medical condition and requires emergency medical assistance. If there is frostbite but no sign of hypothermia and immediate medical care is not available:

  • Get into a warm room as soon as possible.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes—this increases the damage.
  • Immerse the affected area in warm—not hot—water (the temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body).
  • Or, warm the affected area using body heat. For example, the heat of an armpit can be used to warm frostbitten fingers.
  • Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all. This can cause more damage.
  • Don’t use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming. Affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.


Hypothermia is a medical emergency and frostbite should be evaluated by a health care provider

  • Do not rub areas that appear to be affected by frostbite.
  • Seek medical care if you think you have frostbite.


Increases in other health problems can also be seen, especially for those with other chronic medical conditions such as heart conditions.


Further information about the health risks of extreme cold and Public Health’s Extreme Cold Response Plan can be found at under “My Home & Environment” by clicking on “Extreme Weather – Cold”.



For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence,

Communications Supervisor

(705) 743-1000, ext. 391