Plan ahead and be prepared for the cold weather. Remember to take special care with children and the elderly, as they may be more susceptible to the cold.  


  • Your body's extremities, such as the ears, nose, fingers and toes lose heat the fastest, so wear a hat, gloves, etc.
  • Dress in layers of warm clothing, with a wind-resistant outer layer.
  • Outer clothing should be hooded, tightly woven, and water repellent.
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold air.

Cold and wind chill

  • Seek shelter when the wind chill is significant and limit the time you spend outdoors.
  • The use of alcohol, tobacco and certain medications will increase your susceptibility to cold.
  • Wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Wet skin, or wet clothing in direct contact with skin, increases the effective wind chill - stay dry!


  • Frostbite is a severe condition, where both the skin and the underlying tissue (fat, muscle, bone) are frozen and the skin can appear white and waxy and is hard to the touch.
  • Do not rub or massage the area.
  • Warm the area gradually, using body heat or warm water.


  • Symptoms include shivering, confusion, and loss of muscular control. If symptoms occur, seek medical assistance immediately.
  • Hypothermia can progress to a life threatening condition where shivering stops, the person loses consciousness and cardiac arrest can occur.

Exercising outdoors

  • Although keeping active can help generate body heat, pace your outdoor activity as vigorous exercise and cold temperatures can cause high blood pressure and accelerated heart rates.
  • If shovelling, be sure to warm up your muscles before you start and break frequently.

Don't forget about your pet's safety

Your pet can be just as sensitive to the winter conditions as you are. See our winter pet care page for tips on keeping your pet safe and warm.

Emergency Shelters

Shelter information and other cold weather-related information will be posted on the Region of Durham's website during periods of extreme cold as it becomes available. Please visit their extreme cold weather page for additional information related to alerts and safety. 

Follow the Durham Region Health Department on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay connected. 

Weather updates

Visit Environment Canada for details on weather conditions.