When the first snowfall comes, the incidence of slips and falls goes up especially after a winter storm. Slipping on icy surfaces can sometimes be more than just a sprained ankle. A bad fall can also result in fractures and injuries that may require a trip to the ER.
Routine activities can become dangerous during winter so it’s very important to know what to do if, and when, accidents do happen.
The proper first aid can prevent serious injury (and even save lives) so people should have some basic first aid knowledge to apply while waiting for professional help.
When someone slips or falls on ice or snow, here’s a list of what you can do after calling for help:
- Make sure the injured person is not in immediate danger.
- Do not move the injured person if he or she is unconscious, has serious injuries to the head, neck, back, hips and the thighs, or has difficulty breathing.
- Once you have assessed that there is no immediate danger and no serious injuries, check the extent of the injury. If it’s not severe enough to warrant a visit to the hospital, administer first aid.
- Most slips and falls result in sprains and the best thing to do is to observe RICE:
R – rest the injured part
I – ice the injured part, or use a cold pack
C – comfort and support should be provided to the affected area
E – elevate to relieve pain and swelling.
- If the pain becomes too much, consider acetaminophen or ibuprofen for relief (be cautious of allergies).
Although it helps to know first aid basics, nothing beats prevention. Below are simple tips to remember:
- If possible, avoid slippery surfaces altogether. Icy sidewalks, snow banks, even wet leaves can be potentially hazardous.
- If you must cross a slick surface, keep your pace slow and steady. Don’t hurry; keep eyes focused on the path in front of you.
- Invest in a good pair of slip-resistant shoes or boots. Ice grippers can also be attached to your shoes for added traction.
- Check and clean your shoes for caked snow and ice before going inside. They can cause you to slip and fall as they melt.
You don’t have to lock yourself up inside just because it’s snowing outside. With the right information, you can be well prepared for the colder months and can even exercise in cold weather! You can avoid slips and falls in winter and be ready with the first aid for these common injuries.