As we get closer to the beginning of winter and temperatures start to drop, Toronto Public Health is sharing tips with the public on how to stay warm during the cold weather season.

Exposure to cold weather can increase the immediate risk of direct cold weather injuries including hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 35°C. Symptoms can include shivering, confusion and stumbling. Frostbite occurs when body tissues freeze and die. Frostbite mainly affects extremities such as fingers, toes, ears and nose. Skin appears waxy, grey and cold to the touch. In severe cases, amputation may be needed.

During colder temperatures, members of the public are encouraged to take the following precautions:

• Check the weather report before going outside.

• Dress in layers, making sure your outer layer is windproof, and cover exposed skin.

• Wear a hat, warm mittens or gloves, and warm boots.

• Stay dry. Your risk of hypothermia is much greater if you are wet.

• Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for your clothes instead of cotton, because cotton stops keeping you warm when it gets wet.

• Seek shelter if you normally spend long periods outside. Depending on the wind chill, exposed skin can freeze in minutes.

• Drink warm beverages, other than alcohol.

• Warm up by taking regular breaks in heated buildings when enjoying winter activities outside.

• Consider rescheduling outdoor activities, or limiting time outdoors, during colder temperatures, especially if it’s windy.

• Heat your home to at least 21ºC if babies or elderly people are present.