When the winter season hits, the inevitable snow and ice accumulation is usually close behind (if it doesn’t come first!). While at times beautiful and serene, winter weather can be hazardous. Many of us have either witnessed or experienced a painful fall on the ice or slippery surface at some point during the winter. Slips and falls can cause minor to severe injuries. Let’s take a look at this guide for preventing slip-and-fall injuries during the winter months.
Avoiding Winter Slip and Fall Injuries
Each year, winter conditions can increase the risk of slip-and-fall injuries including fractures, concussions, sprains, or strains. And while this can happen to all ages, severe injuries are more likely for older adults. It’s important to practice caution when going out during winter conditions. There are a few things we advise you to be aware of in order to prevent slipping on ice or slippery surfaces.
Here are a few safety tips we recommend:
- Be aware of your surroundings. Watch for ice on steps, pathways, sidewalks, and while getting in and out of cars or other transportation.
- Walk nice and slow. Take slower, careful steps if you are walking anywhere that is slippery.
- Wear proper shoes. It’s important to always wear proper shoes if you are going out. Not every shoe has the proper traction to walk on ice, increasing the risk of danger. Wear boots providing traction and ankle support, or you can even wear ice grippers on your footwear.
- Watch for slippery floors as you enter buildings or your home. Mop up any water in your entryway to avoid moisture accumulating and making your floors slick.
- Make sure to clear your sidewalks and driveway. Ensure you’re properly removing snow from areas you frequently walk through outdoors and use salt to melt any icy areas.
- Avoid carrying heavy items and walking with your hands in your pockets. Having your hands free reduces your chance of losing your balance.
Types of Injuries from Slip-and-Fall Accidents
There are several types of injuries that can occur from a slip and fall accident. They range from mild to severe. Let’s take a look at the types of injuries you or someone you love could suffer from if they slip and fall.
A fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone. You can fracture your wrist from trying to catch yourself if you slip or even fracture another bone from hitting it hard enough during a fall. Fractures can be mild to severe and range in pain level. The signs or symptoms of a fracture vary according to the affected bone, the patient’s age, general health, and the severity of the injury.
Common signs and symptoms of a fracture:
- Pain around the affected bone
- Unable to put weight on the injured area
- Unable to move the injured area
If you believe you or a loved one has suffered a fracture due to a slip and fall, head to your nearest Urgency Room for a diagnosis and treatment.
Sprains and Strains
A sprain happens when a part of your ligament is torn or stretched. You can sprain your ankle from twisting it while slipping on the ice or even your wrist from trying to catch yourself. A strain is an injury to a muscle or the band of tissue that attaches a muscle to the bone. Sprains and strains can range from mild to severe in pain level and often heal on their own at home with some care.
Depending on the severity of your sprain or strain, the signs and symptoms will vary but may include the following:
- Limited ability to move the injured area
- Hearing or feeling a “pop” in your joint at the time of injury
While many sprains and strains can be cared for at home, if you have severe symptoms, head to your nearest Urgency Room to be quickly diagnosed and treated.
A concussion is one of the most serious injuries you could get if you slip and fall. A concussion is a type of brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. A concussion is a very serious injury and should not be taken lightly.
If you fall and hit your head, the following may be symptoms of a concussion:
- Headache or pressure in the head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Appearing dazed or stunned
- Moves clumsily
- Bothered by light or noise
- Can’t recall events prior to or after
If you or a loved one has suffered from a head injury after slipping and falling, head to your nearest Urgency Room immediately to be diagnosed and treated.
Treat Injuries at The Urgency Room
If you or a loved one have suffered from an injury following a slip and fall, head to the nearest Urgency Room right away to be quickly diagnosed and treated for your injuries. Our board-certified emergency room physicians will provide exceptional care at our state-of-the-art facilities. Located in Eagan, Vadnais Heights, and Woodbury, we are open 365 days a year for your convenience.