Cold snaps create dangerous, icy conditions on sidewalks and roads. This can send people to hospital with fractured bones due to falls.
Island Health advises everyone, particularly seniors, to be cautious when they venture outdoors this winter, as they are especially at risk of sustaining serious injuries from slips and falls.
“With this first real blast of winter on Vancouver Island, we ask everyone to be careful of the ice and snow on driveways, sidewalks and roads,” said Dr. Murray Fyfe, Island Health medical health officer. “Slips can result in falls and broken bones.”
Here are some tips to reduce the risk of falling:
• Postpone non-essential trips if possible.
• Wear proper fitting, supportive footwear appropriate to the weather.
• Keep your centre of gravity over your feet and keep your hands out of your pockets to maintain balance.
• Walk slowly and pay attention to where you are going.
• Remove reading glasses while walking.
• Use handrails when available, especially on steps.
• Use extra caution when entering or exiting a vehicle.
• Avoid stepping on ice or snow if possible – or, if you must, walk where it’s crunchy if you can.
• Use a waist belt or backpack instead of carrying a purse – this will improve your balance.
• Use walking aids (walkers or canes) as ordered for you by a health professional.
• Sprinkle sand or salt around your home and on sidewalks to improve traction.
• Don’t use ladders in icy or wet weather, ask for help or hire a professional if absolutely necessary – otherwise, wait until things warm up.