Safety on Ice


While some professions see a drop in business from an ice storm, it’s just the opposite with others. A good example is in healthcare.

How can you prevent yourself from getting hurt when it’s slick outside? The only way to ensure you don’t become a victim of ice that’s there but you don’t see it until it’s too late, is to stay inside. But for those of us that don’t have that option, there are ways to help reduce the odds of becoming a black ice victim.

It’s what you can’t see when you step outside that can leave you bruised and in some cases broken.

“It’s very common to have wrist fractures, arm fractures, hip fractures, concussions, back injuries, strains and sprains, pretty common during ice time,” says Sarah Dodson, Mercy nurse practitioner.

Mercy nurse practitioner Sarah Dodson says the type of footwear can help reduce the odds of falling on the ice, whether you can see it or, as in the case of black ice, not.

“Boots or shoes that have a slip resistant surface or some ice cleats, those are very good, they give you sure footing. As you’re walking, shuffle your feet, move slowly,” says Sarah Dodson.

Dodson says it’s not at all unusual for the number of broken bones and fractures to double during ice storms. She says the way you walk needs to be different than usual, smaller steps work best.

“As you’re walking, shuffle your feet, move slowly rather than taking large steps cause it keeps your weight centered, that way you’re not having to fall over, if you have the opportunity to use a hand rail, please use a hand rail and gain more stability,” says Dodson.

And she says keep your hands free as much as possible.

“Not carrying a large armload of stuff because your balance is going to be thrown off and if you are going to fall, you may not be able to brace yourself and it can result in a head injury,” says Dodson.

So if you do fall, do you need to go to a clinic or the emergency room? Dodson says anytime you lose consciousness, even for a short time, you should go in to make sure you don’t have a concussion. And if your pain level in whatever part of your body you landed on doesn’t drop off, even after a few minutes, that needs to be checked too.

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