Winter is around the corner and while you look forward to the holidays, it’s also time to brace yourself for bad weather. This is the time of year when the incidence of slip and fall injuries rises. In fact, enrolment in slip and fall prevention programs in Brooklyn increase during the winter months.
Weather-related elements that cause slip-and-fall accidents include rain, hail, snow and sleet, ice, and wet leaves and debris. Icy sidewalks and slippery surfaces can make you lose your balance. While most falls involve only minor injuries and bruises, severe accidents can lead to broken bones, especially wrist or hip fractures in the elderly. Winter weather-related pains can also occur from injuries to the shoulders, wrists, rotator cuffs and back from shoveling and chipping ice.
You can’t do anything about the weather, but you can take steps to protect yourself from slips and falls. Here are some useful tips to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents in winter:
- Use footwear designed for traction: When you’re outdoors, wear insulated boots with a ribbed, nonskid bottom. Women should stick to flat-soled shoes and avoid high heels. Walk slowly and deliberately.
- Clear the path outside your home: Keep the path outside your house clear of debris and use ice melt to prevent it from getting slippery. Keep the rock salt and a shovel handy, preferably near the front door. Make sure that pathway leading from the driveway or garage to the front door is well-lit.
- Install a ramp: A covered, no-step entry with a weather-resistant ramp is a useful option for homes.
- Use handrails if available: a strong handhold can prevent a fall if you happen to slip.
- Walk safe: Keep an eye out for traffic when you’re walking in the street. Vehicles can skid and being alert can keep you from getting hit. Avoid using your cellphone when you are walking outdoors. Cellphones can be a distraction and lead to an accident. Wear bright or reflective clothing if walking at night or when it’s snowing heavily.
- Get a medical exam: This is especially important for older adults. An eye exam and physical can reduce the risk of having a medical condition that can add to the risk of falling.
- Eat right: Maintain your overall health with a proper diet that meets your calcium and vitamin D requirements. Discuss any side effects of your medications with your doctor and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
Enrolling in a slip and fall prevention program is a good idea for older adults. Reliable healthcare centers in New York offer customized fall risk assessment and conditioning programs. Such programs are designed to assess your risk of falling, identify and modify the risk factors, and improve mobility, physical strength, and balance.
Avoid slip and fall injuries this winter – take a few sensible precautions and stay safe!