Winter Slip Tips
Winter weather means snow, ice, and a lot of falling. Any emergency room nurse will tell you they see more broken bones, concussions, and lacerations from falling during the winter than any other time of the year. If you want to avoid one of those emergency room trips, you should consider these tips for preventing them as well as knowing when it’s time to call the doc.
Avoid the Fall
Before you head out anywhere, check the weather and know what you’ll need. If it’s going to be icy, you’ll need comfortable shoes with good grips. If possible, wait to go out until the sidewalks and roads are clear.
Have Time to Spare
Don’t delay departure until the last possible minute. Give yourself plenty of time to walk slowly. Your chances of falling increase when you’re in a rush.
Walk Slowly and Deliberately
Take your time and walk as flat footed as possible. Many people relate the best way to walk on ice to walking like a penguin, with your hands out, feet flat, and shuffling.
Watch for Ice
Keep an eye on the ground as you walk to help you spot ice before you step on it. That way, you can anticipate the dangers of ice before you hit it.
Be Careful Getting in and out of Cars
Parking lots can be a nightmare of ice, and if you aren’t holding on to your car door, you might find yourself on the ground next to your car.
Go Hands Free
Keep your hands free and out of your pockets as you walk to help you keep your balance. Carrying heavy loads or playing with your smartphone only increases the risk of falling.
Don’t wait to remove the snow from your driveway and sidewalks. The more packed down the snow gets from you walking on it, the easier it turns into fall-inducing ice.
When to Call the Doctor
You should know what to look for after you’ve fallen to make sure you’re okay. If you have any of these problems, call your doctor or orthopaedic surgeon as soon as possible.
Swelling after a fall may not be a sign of a need for immediate medical attention, but if that swelling is accompanied by pain and bruising, and does not go down after a couple of days of icing it and taking anti-inflammatories, call the doctor.
If you have prolonged and persistent pain following a fall, such as in the wrist, ankle, hips, and other joints, you may have suffered a sprain or broken bone and should see your medical professional.
Pop or Crack?
If you do fall and injure yourself, try to pay attention to the sound your body makes. If you hear a pop, it indicates a sprain. If you hear a crack, it may be a broken bone, and you should see your doctor.
Dark colored bruising spread over a large area may be a sign of a more serious problem than it seems at first.
Signs of a Concussion
You’ll want to know the signs of a concussion, since ignoring a concussion may lead to serious repercussions, not limited to brain damage or a coma. Symptoms include:
Fuzzy or blurred vision
Short or long term memory loss
Inability to fall asleep or increased fatigue
Sensitivity to light or noise
Inability to concentrate
If you experience any of these symptoms following a fall in which you hit your head, head to the emergency room or doctor’s office immediately.