Avoiding Winter Injuries
Winter storms can create a higher risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms can:
- Last a few hours or several days
- Cut off heat, power, and communication services
- Put older adults, children, and sick individuals and pets at greater risk.
The most common winter injuries include:
- Falling on ice and snow.
- Experiencing muscle strain from shoveling snow.
- Accidents while playing winter sports and activities.
Consider preparedness actions before winter storms occur:
- Have proper footwear made for icy and snowy conditions.
- Practice keeping your stride shorter and avoid long steps.
- Slow things down — try not to rush or run outdoors.
- Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
- Keep deicer or sand on hand for when things get slippery around your house.
Like children, older adults are at a higher risk of slipping and falling on icy pavement. They can easily lose their footing and take a fall that can put them in severe danger. Older adults who have suffered in the past from hip injuries could further damage their hips or back. They should be accompanied and helped down driveways and across parking lots to ensure they are stable and have the support to walk safely. Older adults with mobility issues may want to consider motorized scooters during the winter months for extra safety precaution.
Be Safe DURING
Easy tips can help you to stay safe in winter weather. Remember to:
- Thoroughly and regularly salt driveways, sidewalks, and stairs.
- Stay hydrated while being active outside.
- Dress appropriately and add layers of clothing.
- Ensure proper footing while shoveling snow or scraping ice off vehicles.
- Wear a helmet during winter sports.
- Always supervise children playing outside in the snow.
Shoveling snow is strenuous work. Remember to stretch before doing physical activity. Always lift with your legs, not your back. Do not shovel snow after eating. Take it slow - don't work to the point of exhaustion.