In the northeast, winter is defined by frigid temperatures and near-constant snowfall. Although the snow may look lovely as it falls and blankets everything in sight, it creates many dangers for the average person. If you’re outside in the elements during the winter, you risk injuring yourself and having to visit a nearby urgent care center.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can avoid injury during the winter and keep yourself safe. Let’s take a look at some of the top tips for preventing wintertime injuries, as well as what to do if you are injured, so that you can make it to spring safe and sound.
Don’t Slip on Ice or Snow
This may be easier said than done, but there are plenty of ways you can avoid falling on ice or snow. Slipping on ice or snow can cause a variety of injuries, even if you recover and don’t fall completely. These injuries include:
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Head or brain injuries
- Ankle strains or twists
- Spinal cord injuries
Any of these injuries would require treatment at an urgent care clinic. Although urgent care centers in the U.S. handle an average of 50 visits per day and three patient care visits per hour, you probably don’t want to have to be one of their patients. Some of these injuries may even be serious enough to necessitate a trip to the emergency room, which can be costly and take up the better part of your day.
To prevent slips and falls, be sure to always wear proper footwear that is made for icy and snowy conditions. When you’re walking outside, don’t rush and try to avoid taking long steps. Instead, keep your stride shorter and slow down your pace. This will help you maintain more control over your steps and keep your foot from slipping out from under you.
You should also have de-icer or sand on hand throughout the winter. When things get slippery around your home, you can use it to melt the ice or make it easier to walk on. If you have an elderly loved one or neighbor, try to help keep the area around their home ice-free as well. Seniors are more likely to slip and fall in wintery conditions and they often sustain more serious injuries.
Make sure you have your cell phone on you when you’re outside so that if you or a loved one do fall, you can call for help right away. If you think you have twisted a muscle or broken a bone, you can visit a walk-in urgent care clinic for immediate treatment. If you think that you have a serious head or spinal injury, it’s best to go to an emergency room where they have the equipment to diagnose those conditions.
Be Careful When Driving
Not only are snow and ice dangerous to pedestrians but they’re also dangerous for drivers. Snowy weather and hidden patches of ice present many dangers to even the most experienced drivers. The best way drivers can stay safe in snowy conditions is to not drive at all. If you have the option to work from home or can wait to go to the grocery store, it’s better to hunker down at home and wait to drive until the plows have cleared the roads.
If, however, you must drive when it’s snowy outside, exercise more caution than you think necessary. Drive slowly, use your signals, pump your brakes, and be patient with other drivers. You may see cars fishtail or get stuck in drifts of snow. Driving slowly can help you avoid crashing into these other cars as they struggle. If it’s safe to do so, you can pull over to help someone who is stuck in the snow but make sure that you aren’t putting yourself in danger when you do this.
If you are in a car accident because of wintery weather, you should visit a medical facility. Your insurance will need proof from a doctor that you’ve sustained injuries. An urgent care center will be able to take care of minor injuries like muscle strains or fractured bones but if there is uncontrollable bleeding or other severe injuries, it’s best to go straight to the emergency room.
Take It Easy When Shoveling Snow
One of the most dreaded wintertime chores is shoveling snow off of the driveway and sidewalk. This physically-exerting task can take a long time and leave you sore all over the next day. If you twist the wrong way while you’re shoveling, you can pull a muscle and cause your back, neck, or shoulders to seize up.
To avoid the pain of a pulled muscle, go easy when you’re shoveling. Take breaks as often as you need to and get help from someone else if you can. It’s even wiser to invest in a snow blower or a plow service if that’s in your budget. You’ll strain your body a lot less with these snow removal methods and still get the job done effectively.
If you do injure yourself while shoveling the driveway, visit the doctors at your local urgent care. They’ll be able to help you ease the pain and get the muscle back to its normal state.
Taking precautions to prevent wintertime injuries is one of the best things you can do for your health. Use these tips to stay safe this winter and soon enough you’ll be enjoying the springtime sunshine.