Staying safe during the cold snap
As temperatures plummet this week and we are faced with our first snowfall of the winter, we are also at increased risk of injury through falling and slipping.
Cracked ribs, broken wrists, twisted ankles, broken hips and many bumps and bruises are likely if the correct measures are not taken to try and avoid injury and prevent any long term damage.
What might seem as a minor slip on the ice can later spiral into long term complications. The elderly are the most vulnerable and at particular risk from a fall, leading to impaired mobility and the possible decline in cardio vascular health, if they have to spend long periods in recovery.
Therefore it is vital that the necessary precautions are taken to prevent a fall or risk injury. Here’s what you can do:
Icy paths and roads.
Any potential dangers that could compromise your risk to falling, in particular steps and slopes or areas that have not been cleared of ice and snow.
The coldest parts of the day – morning and evening when the frost and ice has formed. Take extra care where ice has formed after a thaw.
Wear appropriate slip-resistant footwear.
Keep boots and shoes free of snow and ice on returning home, as this can cause further slippage danger when inside.
Salting an area helps prevent ice from forming and keeps pathways clear.
Hold on tight. Where possible hold onto hand rails.
Help. Offer help to an elderly relative or neighbour that may be at risk (shovelling snow, shopping for groceries etc.)
Long Term Precautions
One of the best ways to avoid falling is to improve balance and flexibility and strength through exercise.
There are many exercises to improve balance. One of the easiest and most simplest exercise is standing on one foot. Try to keep your balance for a full minute. If this is not possible you might have a balance deficit.
A strong core and strong leg muscles can also help keep you upright and having good upper body strength helps prevent upper body injuries if you do fall.
Joining any exercise class, whether it be pilates or yoga, or visiting the gym is a good idea for everyone to maintain their overall health, but especially anyone interested in preventing falls.