With temperatures that plummeted to nearly -50 degrees Friday night and with the extreme cold continuing, many Airdronians face a heightened risk of frostbite. 

Frostbite poses dangers that can affect both themselves, as well their pet.  Residents must be well prepared for what to do if they find themselves in such a situation.  

MyHealth Alberta describes frostbite as the freezing of the skin and tissues below the skin. It occurs when a person is exposed to freezing temperatures of zero degrees or lower for too long. 

Frostbite can occur in temperatures below -15 in 30 minutes with pets at risk in half the time.  

Residents should be aware of the signs of frostbite in themselves, and their pets. If you notice numbness, cold skin, changes in skin colour, or other symptoms such as hard waxy-looking skin, immediate action is crucial. My Health Alberta warns residents of what to do should these symptoms occur. 

“Medical treatment for frostbite includes relieving pain and quickly rewarming the frostbite area. This can help prevent problems such as infection, dead tissue, or amputation of the frozen part.” 

If outdoor exposure is required, limit it to no longer than 30 minutes at a time, layer your clothing (including mitts and a hat), carry emergency supplies, and keep moving.  

Maury Karch with Airdrie Municipal Enforcment advised residents with pets facing this harsh weather. 

“Ensure that your animals are not left outside for any extended period with temperatures being -40 with the windchill, let your dog out but make sure that you watch them and that they aren't left outside,” said Karch. 

 The city of Airdrie currently has a 24-hour shelter for at-risk individuals, located at the Airdrie Public Library. 

Frostbite can be extremely dangerous without proper precautions being taken and residents should remain informed on current weather conditions to plan accordingly. 

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