Wintertime is full of surprises and hazardous situations. You can easily suffer an injury in the winter while performing basic tasks and during normal activities. Slipping and falling, experiencing a car accident and developing frostbite are all common types of injuries that occur during the cold months.
Thankfully, prevention is possible. You can enjoy this time of year, injury-free, by staying alert and watching out for hazards. Follow these health and safety guidelines to stay safe this winter.
1. Slipping and falling
Icy and snowy surfaces may cause you to fall and hurt yourself. This can happen virtually anywhere, but it's especially common in parking lots and on sidewalks. Common injuries you may sustain after slipping and falling include the following:
- Hip fractures
- Ankle sprains and strains
- Back injuries
- Wrist fractures
- Head and brain injuries
To prevent these injuries, be alert and observant when the temperature is below or near freezing. Take shorter and slower steps, wear shoes with good traction and stay indoors during snowstorms.
2. Motor vehicle accidents
Navigating the roads during the winter is no easy task. Driving on icy roads with reduced visibility can easily lead to a collision. Here are some tips for preventing winter auto wrecks:
- Drive slowly and give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination.
- Maintain your vehicle, particularly the battery, brakes, tires and fluids.
- Stay off the road during storms whenever possible.
- Avoid changing lanes quickly.
- Keep emergency supplies in your car.
While there is no way to control or predict whether other drivers will be smart and attentive, it's important to do your part.
When the weather is particularly cold, frostbite is a possibility if skin is exposed for too long. This condition can occur rapidly, especially when the air temperature approaches or dips below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Untreated frostbite can result in permanent damage to your nerves, blood vessels and muscles. Extreme cases may cause gangrene or infections. Reduce your exposure to extreme cold weather (and be mindful of wind chills) and wear adequate clothing, erring on the side of caution.