Stay Healthy and Injury-Free Despite Winter Hazards
Winter may be known for bringing its share of injury and illness, but a little preparation and common sense can go a long way in mitigating these risks.
Even though it may be virtually impossible to entirely avoid getting sick or becoming injured, there are a few things you can do to help minimize these risks, says Dr. Henry Schuitema, Medical Director of Kennedy Health System’s Stratford Emergency Department in New Jersey. He offers the following tips:
- Wash your hands, especially after sharing toys, coughing or blowing a runny nose. Wash for at least 15 seconds (hum “Happy Birthday” to keep track of time).
- Get a flu shot if you haven’t already. It’s not too late. Adults ages 75 and up should also get a pneumonia shot.
- Be careful shoveling. It’s strenuous, so don’t overdo it. Older, school-age kids can help, but don’t let young children shovel (they could strain their muscles).
- Minimize your time outside. Kids have a tough time knowing when to come inside from the cold. Avoid hypothermia or frostbite by checking on children often to ensure gloves are warm and dry and their noses aren’t too red.
- Take your time. Don’t rush when walking, even short distances. Ice can be difficult to see and quite treacherous. A little extra caution and time could help save you a trip to the emergency room.
- Use sunscreen. Even in the winter, you can still get sunburned. A sunscreen with at least SPF 15 will help.
- Be careful with cold-weather sports. Know where your kids are playing and be sure they wear protective equipment when sledding or doing other potentially hazardous outdoor activities.
Winter can be difficult enough for some folks without a trip to the emergency room or doctor’s office. Take precautions ahead of time to keep you safe and healthy despite the weather.
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Source: Schuitema, Dr. Henry. Kennedy Health System. “Winter Safety – Keep Healthy During Cold Winter Months.” Retrieved Jan. 11, 2012, from http://www.kennedyhealth.org/health-news/186-winter-safety-keep-healthy-during-the-cold-winter-months.html.