Bypass Winter Injuries with These Tips
With winter comes freezing weather and snow. This can be the most beautiful and treacherous time if you aren’t prepared. There is likely to be slippery sidewalks, streets and more! Personal injury during the wintertime is likely to occur from performing every day and medial tasks. It’s important to be aware of the potential health risks and take precautions ahead of time. This will allow you to spend the season safely enjoying the outdoors. Below we have listed the potential injuries you can sustain and how to safely avoid them.
What are the Most Common Winter Injuries?
Like we stated earlier, the winter weather brings a variety of things to the table such as beautiful scenes and time spent with the family, but also the potential for injury. Some of the most common winter injuries include:
- Falling on ice and snow
- Experiencing muscle strain from shoveling snow or scraping ice off the car
- Driving and motor vehicle collisions
- Accidents while playing winter sports and activities
Slip-and-fall injuries are commonly seen in the ER around this time of the year. It can be difficult to distinguish ice on the pavement. What looks like a pool of water can be a sheet of ice. Sometimes you may be able to catch yourself before you fall, but even if you don’t fall you can severely injure your back or experience another kind of injury during the process. There are a variety of injuries that can occur from falling on ice, but the most common include:
- Head or brain injuries, including concussions
- Ankle strains and twists
- Broken bones, most commonly hip, and wrist fractures
- Back injuries, including spinal compression fractures
While it’s best to stay indoors when the weather gets rough, we understand you may need to go outside. If you do, follow these tips:
- Slow down, it’s better to take slower and shorter steps when on snow/ice
- Do the “penguin walk” shuffle with your eyes forward, knees slightly bent
- Wear insulated footwear with good tread
- Keep ice/sand around
Even with the best preventative measures, accidents happen. If the fall is serious, you should call 911 immediately or go straight to the emergency room. Some injuries might not seem as bad at first, but with time they can escalate quickly.
Shoveling snow poses another serious risk this winter season. Shoveling snow is a risky activity for older adults because it has potential to cause a serious injury, trigger back pain, or cause you to fall. People over 55 are 4 times more likely than younger adults to have a heart problem while they are shoveling snow. Studies show that 7% of injuries seen shoveling were heart-related, but for those with heart conditions, all deals associated with shoveling were due to heart attacks.
Lessen your chances of getting hurt while shoveling snow by:
- Pacing yourself and taking frequent breaks
- Wear proper footwear
- Pushing the snow rather than lifting and throwing
- Listening to your body
When using a snowblower, remember to:
- Never stick your hand into the shoot to unclog snow
- Even after the machine is turned off there is a period where the blades are still running. Be aware of this
If you aren’t prepared for winter driving conditions and you don’t take the proper safety precautions, you can out yourself and others at risk. Studies find that auto accident claims go up by 12% in the months of January and February. Reduced traction due to the snow and ice and reduced visibility contribute to many motor vehicle accidents. Remember to:
- Take it slow and leave plenty of time to get to your destination
- Avoid changing lanes quickly
- Make sure your car is in good driving condition
- Have an emergency kit in your car if you do get stranded. It should have a shovel and windshield scraper, warm blankets with a set of dry hat, gloves and outerwear, booster cables, rope, flashlight, water and basic first aid kit.
Rosewood Care Centers are structured to meet the lifestyle and healthcare needs of its residents. We pride ourselves on being the healthcare choice you can feel good about. We are a rehabilitation center for individuals whose health has been impacted by illness, injury, or a recent operation. If you have any any questions about any of our services, our care center locations, or just want to learn more about us feel free to give us a call at (815) 436-5900. We hope that the informative list above provided some facts and information that will help in keeping you or a loved one safe this winter.