Novel Coronavirus COVID-19
 

Cold Weather and COVID-19


UPDATED Last updated: November 18, 2021

Extreme cold is a potential risk for everyone. Staying safe while it is cold and staying warm on cold days is important but may be more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the winter months, the air is drier which may help the COVID-19 virus to spread; we also spend more time indoors where windows aren’t open and spaces aren’t as well ventilated as they are at other times of the year. It is therefore critical to continue to follow public health measures and ensure social distancing in order to keep you and others safe during the winter months. These same precautions will also help protect you from colds and flu.

Follow these public health measures to ensure you can safely enjoy the colder weather.

  • Respect all public health measures about social (physical) distancing when you visit recreational facilities that are open to the public during the pandemic such as skating rinks, toboggan slides, ski hills and parks.
  • Check the hours of public spaces and facilities you visit to warm up, such as community centres, malls or libraries. Hours of operation may be modified under COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Pack extra supplies when you go out. Not all retail stores are open for purchases, which limits access to water or other beverages.

Vulnerable populations:

During the COVID-19 pandemic it is more important than ever to support vulnerable populations in our communities. Cold can stress the body and reduce a person’s capacity to fight off COVID-19. Vulnerable populations should take extra care given that they are often at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as well as other winter illnesses.

 Vulnerable populations may include:

  • older adults, especially those who are more socially isolated under COVID-19
  • infants and young children
  • people with chronic conditions, such as breathing difficulties or heart problems
  • people with reduced mobility
  • people who work or exercise in the cold (even if they are healthy)
  • other vulnerable people (such as people experiencing homelessness; those with cognitive or learning difficulties, or mental health issues)

Ensure you check in regularly with vulnerable or socially isolated community members, friends and family.  Contact people by phone or virtually where possible to reduce face-to-face interactions during COVID-19.

Certain substances, including amphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy), cocaine, alcohol and cannabis, can alter mental status and increase risks during cold weather.

This winter, especially under the unique challenges posed by COVID-19, remember to prioritize your mental wellness, and seek support if you are struggling. More information is available at https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/bewell/index.html.


For more information:

On cold weather and your health, visit: www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/cold.html

On working in cold weather, visit:  www.safemanitoba.com/topics/Pages/Working-in-Cold-Weather.aspx