Winter Is Coming – Tips on Preventing Injuries

This press release was orginally distributed by ReleaseWire

Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/10/2021 -- Decreasing temperatures and increasing precipitation across the intermountain west is bringing an increase to visits to urgent care and emergency departments.

"One of the most frequently seen causes for visits to the emergency room this time of year is from slipping on icy sidewalks," said David Hasleton, MD, Intermountain Healthcare's senior medical director of emergency medicine and trauma operations. "These slip-and-fall injuries can range from a small bruise or cut to a traumatic brain injury, so it is important that people take steps to reduce their danger."

While accidents happen, Intermountain expert says there are some preventive measures that everyone can take to avoid injury for yourself and others.

1. Keep Walkways Clear: Keep sidewalks, driveways, stairs, and walkways free from snow and ice and other debris. And when the temperature starts to dip, be sure to use sand or ice melt. Anyone and everyone is at risk of falling or slipping on icy and snowy walkways, but seniors are especially vulnerable. Injuries can include concussions, severe bruising, muscle sprains, broken bones and back injuries.

2. Shovel Safely: Every year in the United States, an average of 11,500 people are treated in the emergency department for snow shoveling-related injuries. The lifting, digging, and repetitive motions puts extra strain and stress on the body. Before shoveling, make sure to stretch. If you have a bit area or limiting physical conditions, consider asking for help or hiring someone to remove your snow.

3. Check Footwear: Wear shoes or boots that have good traction – proper footwear is the key to safety when outside shoveling snow or walking. Experts say if you don't feel boots are professional for the work environment, change shoes when you arrive at your place of business.

4. Pay Attention: Slow down. Take your time and make shorter strides. And don't rummage through a purse, text, or keep your hands in your pockets while walking – ice patches can be everywhere.

5. Drive Safely: Every year in the US, an average of 116,800 people are injured, and 1,300 people are killed from motor vehicle accidents due to winter weather conditions. Allow extra time for bad weather and/or traffic delays – rushing to your destination can place you in a dangerous and slippery situation.

Leave ample distance between you and the driver in front of you, as braking distances can be up to nine times greater on snowy and icy surfaces. If your car has four-wheel drive, use it and have your vehicle inspected to make sure the brakes are working properly. And always wear your seatbelt, decrease your speed, and use headlights. Most important and appropriate for all times of year, avoid distractions like mobile phones while driving.

6. Wear safety equipment: Before reaching for the skis, snowboard, or sled, grab the proper protective equipment as well – helmet, goggles, gloves, snow pants, etc. Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital sees serious sledding injuries every year, some of which have required specialized intensive care.

But wearing a helmet could prevent some of these injuries, said Jessica Strong, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital.

"Head, neck, and abdominal injuries are common for kids taking part in winter activities," she said. "If it's sledding or skiing or snowboarding, wearing a helmet is a vital part of keeping kids safe, and can help avoid serious injuries," Strong noted.

Following these simple tips can help reduce the number of injuries during the winter months and save families a trip to the hospital.

However, if you are injured do not delay care. If you have a medical emergency, you should call 911, or go to the emergency department.

About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,600 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and in efficient healthcare delivery. For more information about Intermountain, visit intermountainhealthcare.org, read our blogs, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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Media Relations Contact

Erin Goff
Media Relations
Intermountain Healthcare
Telephone: 1-801-507-7455
Email: Click to Email Erin Goff
Web: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/services/emergency-services/locations/

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