Take extra precautions to avoid injuries during winter, experts say

ISLAMABAD:Falls at any time of year can happen. But during the winter, extra precautions should be made to prevent injuries because of icy conditions, experts said.

This time of year hospitals are often busy with people from all ages who suffer injuries because of slick conditions, officials said.

When young people fall, they usually break a wrist, while the elderly are more likely to break a hip, said Brian Sayger, chairman of the emergency department at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

“Younger individuals usually fall forward, so they usually fall with outstretched arms or on their hands,” Sayger said.

At Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights, the emergency room often sees a high percentage of patients with orthopedic injuries, such as broken bones, after temperatures drop and cause icy conditions, said George Borrelli, director of emergency services, Telegraph reported.

Warmer weather, however, lasting through late fall in 2016 meant fewer falls compared to 2015, he said.

But there have been a high number of broken legs and other injuries from people, usually men, who have fallen off ladders trying to hang lights by themselves, said Daniel Checco, director of Silver Cross Hospital’s Homer Glen Free Standing Emergency Center on 143rd and Bell Road.”Almost better off leaving your decorations up until one of the (weather) breaks,” Borrelli said, encouraging people to use ladders on stable ground after the snow and ice clear.

Head injuries from falls may not be noticeable right away, Sayger said.

“For those who sustained a head injury who are knocked out, or have altered level of mental status, they have to be seen by a medical doctor,” Sayger said.

Also, people may develop symptoms over time, which are unique to each person. The best way to monitor is watching for a-typical behaviors.

“In general, when I’m talking to people in the (emergency room), you have to use your gut instinct or your gestalt, is this a behavior that they’re demonstrating, is it a-typical for this person,” Sayger said.

“Probably prevention is by far the most important thing,” Sayger said.

In New Lenox, the police offer a fall-prevention course several times a year called, A Matter of Balance. As a member of the Safe Communities Coalition, New Lenox has an Older Adult Fall Prevention Task Force that researches ways to keep people safe, said New Lenox Police Public Safety Division Chief Dan Martin.

Plane slides off runway at O’HareOther preventions for any age include keeping walk paths clear of snow and ice. People walking with locked arms with another person also prevents falls in icy conditions, Sayger said.