Preparing for the cold winter weather

Winter comes every year and leaves its mark on Saskatchewan with short days, cold, and snow. Most of us never really get used to winter but we can do things to stay safer and be more prepared for the coldest months of the year.

Dressing For Winter

With Winter temperatures forecast to reach -40°C, it's important to stay warm by dressing appropriately. It can be difficult to get used to the cold weather; however, the experience can be made more enjoyable if you wear the proper attire.  Here are some tips on how to stay warm during these cold months from Fall to Winter:

Jackets/Coats/Parkas:  Having at least one warm, windproof, water-resistant winter coat is important.  Your coat should fit with some room to allow you to wear extra layers underneath if it is especially cold one day.

Layers:  Dressing in layers can help keep you warm and allow you to regulate your body temperature if the weather changes.  Wear a sweater, extra shirt, or leggings underneath your outer layer of clothing.

Boots:  Make sure to choose footwear with good insulation and traction.  Having good traction allows for a better grip on snow and ice so you do not slip when walking.

Toques/Hats and Scarves:  Ensure your winter hat is warm and covers your ears to prevent frostbite.  A scar will cover your neck and face to shield you from the wind.

Gloves/Mittens and Socks:  You will nedd warm gloves or mittens and socks to keep your hands and feet warm.  Covering your extremities will keep your whole body warm and protect from frostbite.

Snow/Ski Pants:  These are worn when it is very cold or if you'll be outside for a long time.  Snow/ski pants can also be used when participating in many winter activities (like sledding, skiing, or snowboarding).



Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. It can happen because of long exposure to the cold.


  • Shivering which may stop as hypothermia progresses.
  • Slow, shallow breathing and weak pulse.
  • Confusion and slurred or mumbled speech.
  • Drowsiness, loss of coordination.

Get medical care immediately if you suspect Hypothermia.

If you cannot get medical help,

  • Remove wet clothing and replace with warm, dry clothes and blankets.  
  • Warm with heating pads or your own body heat.  
  • Encourage warm, non-alcoholic liquids if the person is conscious.


Frostbite is trauma due to being exposed to freezing temperatures.  This cold can freeze the fluids in your skins and other tissues and cause damage to your body.  The earlobes, cheeks, nose, hands, and feet are the most likely to feel the nip of winter and areas we need to be conscious of during the winter freeze.

There are three stages of frostbite:

1. Frostnip

  • Skin appears white.
  • Skin is numb and pain free.
  • This is early frostbite and reversible at home with warming and warm fluids, it may tingle and/or burn slightly when rewarming. It is still serious and should be watched. If you suspect frostbite you should seek medical treatment.

2. Frostbite (superficial)

  • Skin is white and waxy looking.
  • Skin feels stiff but soft, will still have some “give” to it.
  • Skin is numb.

3. Frostbite (deep)

  • Skin is white, yellow-white, or blue-white.
  • The surface and tissue underneath will feel frozen and hard.
  • The area will be completely numb to touch.

When to Seek Professional Medical Care

Don’t try to warm the area up by yourself.

  • Do not rub the area.
  • Do not remove gloves, socks, etc. that may be frozen to that area
  • Pad the area with extra blankets or layers so that it does not get bumped or damaged on the way to getting medical attention.

 If it is an emergency, call 911.