Both Children’s Hospital and Erlanger emergency rooms see similar injuries during winter weather – the leading cause being injuries related to falls. These injuries can range from broken bones, fractures, head injuries and/or lacerations. Injuries to limbs or internal organs can also happen when people are more “adventurous” and are not careful or observant in their surroundings. Serious cases such as traumatic injuries have been due to car accidents during inclement weather.
Below are some reminders or suggestions for safety and health during inclement winter weather.
- Avoid Ice – Walking on ice is extremely dangerous. Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways, and porches. Keep your steps and walkways as free of ice as possible by using rock salt or another chemical de-icing compound. Sand may also be used on walkways to reduce the risk of slipping.
- Listen to weather forecasts.
- If at all possible bring your pets indoors.
- Many homes will be too cold if there is a loss in power. Make sure you have plenty of blankets and layers of clothes to keep you warm.
- Remember space heaters and fireplaces increase the risk of household fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If you have to do heavy outdoor chores, dress warmly, stay dry and work slowly.
- Avoid walking on ice. Falls are the number one reason for injuries no matter what season.
- It is best to stay off the roads during an ice storm. If you have to drive, avoid traveling on ice-covered roads, overpasses, and bridges if at all possible.
- Never pour water on your windshield to remove ice, shattering may occur.
- If the power goes out and you need to use fireplace, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters, make sure they are properly vented to the outside and do not leak fuel or gas into the indoor air space.
- Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors—the fumes are deadly.
- Never leave lit candles unattended.
- Keep as much heat as possible inside your home. Do not leave doors or windows open.
- Check the temperature in your home often during cold weather.
- In below freezing temperatures, leave all water taps slightly open so they drip continuously. This will help prevent your pipes from freezing.