Common Winter Injuries and How to Avoid Them

It can be a huge challenge in the northern states to stay healthy in winter with all the cold air, snow and ice. Many people overdo when cleaning the walkways and driveways of snow and ice and they get injured. Many of the winter injuries can be avoided with just a few preparations ahead of time.

Slip and Falls 
If you are trying to clean off your private walkway or driveway from ice and snow, you should first make sure that you have boots with good treads to avoid falling. Throwing down some salt to help melt the snow and ice before trying to work on the area may also help.

If you do slip and fall, some of the common injuries that people are vulnerable to are sprained joints, hurting their backs or hitting their heads. With some sprains, you could treat with ice, compression, rest and elevate the foot, leg or arm. If your sprain is serious, you should seek the care of a professional.

Head injuries can be very serious. In most cases, the person should go to an emergency care facility to be checked out properly. If you have lost consciousness, are vomiting and nausea, have confusion or disorientation or a severe headache after hitting your head, you should definitely see a doctor. These are signs of a concussion.

Hypothermia 
Being out in the cold air can cause a person’s body temperature to drop below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This is most dangerous in young children and the elderly because it causes hypothermia. If you really need to be outside, then it is best to dress in layers.

Some warning signs of hypothermia are the loss of dexterity, shivering, high pulse and an increase in breathing. The body may stop shivering as hypothermia sets in more. Shivering is one way the body keeps a steady temperature when it stops shivering the heart can stop working normally and the person gets even more confused. No matter what the age of the person, if you suspect hypothermia, you should take that person to a hospital or medical center.

Frostbite 
Frostbite is very dangerous. It can cause serious damage to the nerves, skin, and tissue. A person’s extremities like the feet, ears, nose, and hands are most likely to catch frostbite. The best way to avoid frostbite is to wear warm gloves, socks and always wear a hat. You lose a lot of heat from your body off your head.

Numbness, cold skin and clumsiness are the first signs of frostbite. Your skin can also look discolored and in severe cases, the skin turns black. When someone gets frostbite, you should keep them warm and take them to an emergency room or clinic.

Injuries in the winter can be avoided with a little planning ahead of time. Dress well, eat before going out in the cold and do not drink alcohol, expecting it to warm you up.