Emergency and Trauma Care
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With snow falling, holiday gatherings filling calendars, and fireplaces glowing, winter can be a magical time. It also brings its own set of health risks with it. We’re taking a look at four common winter dangers and addressing how you can prepare to enjoy a safe and fun winter.
Avoid life-threatening health conditions
As temperatures drop, it is essential to protect yourself from the extreme cold.
- Wear layered clothing, a coat, gloves or mittens, and a hat to keep warm. Wear insulated, rubber-soled boots and socks to keep your feet warm and dry, and to help you keep your balance when walking on snow or ice.
- Be alert for signs of hypothermia. Signs include severe shivering, exhaustion, confusion and dizziness. Get medical help right away.
- Be alert for signs of frostbite. Frostbite generally damages tissues in the extremities. Signs include pain, numbness, white, red and/or yellow patches on the skin, and waxy skin. If left untreated, affected areas may have to be amputated.
In case of ice
Falls due to icy pathways are one of the leading causes of emergency room visits in the winter months. Practicing these tips can help you confidently navigate outdoor pathways when temperatures drop below freezing.
- Wear proper footwear with rubber grips and keep your sidewalks and driveway cleared of snow and salted.
- Keep your hands and arms free when walking outside. Carrying too much or obstructing your line of sight can cause you to lose your balance or prevent you from seeing a patch of ice.
- Walk like a penguin. Take small, slow, wide and deliberate steps. If you feel a sidewalk or path is too icy to navigate, don’t cross it.
Shoveling snow is a serious workout, and taking it too hard can bring on a heart attack—which is a major cause of death in the winter months. If you must shovel snow keep these tips in mind:
- Stretch and hydrate before going outside to shovel.
- Take your time while shoveling. Listen to your body and take breaks as needed.
- Wear appropriate clothing, gloves, boots, and other protective gear to shield yourself from exposure to the cold.
Thoughtful temperature control
When temperatures drop outside, we want to cozy up inside. While we look to conventional heating methods like fireplaces and electrical alternatives, it’s important to be aware of the risks of heating.
- Do not use space heaters. Space heaters are responsible for approximately 33% of all winter fires and 80% of all winter heating fire deaths.
- Ensure your home’s carbon monoxide detectors are up-to-date and working and do not use gas ovens or stoves to heat your home.
- Do not run your vehicle inside the garage to warm it up. The fumes are dangerous and can be deadly.
Winter is a time for celebration, friends, and family. By taking some preventative measures, you can help ensure this season is safe and joyous.
When the unexpected happens this winter, Kettering Health has 10 conveniently located emergency centers.Find an emergency center
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