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Outdoor Winter Safety

Accidents frequently happen during the winter season, from slipping on black ice to accidental hypothermia. It is essential to keep yourself and others safe this season by following different precautionary measures. Whether you live in northern states or areas that do not see much snow, safety should always be the number one focus.

Icy Conditions

Icy roads and sidewalks are one of, if not the, most dangerous aspects of winter. Black ice on roads cause an estimated 136,000 accidents each year. Being aware of your surroundings and having the proper tires on your car will help avoid any accidents from black ice this winter. Allow your vehicle an appropriate amount of time to defrost in the morning to have the best possible vision while driving.

For sidewalks, it is your responsibility to ensure there is no ice on the sidewalks outside of your home. Many people walking by may slip and hurt themselves if the sidewalks are not properly thawed. In the instance you fall on the ice this winter, AFC Urgent Care Waltham offers x-rays and treatment for any broken or fractured bones.

Safety while Shoveling

It may be tempting to sit inside and watch the snowfall from the comfort of your warm living room, but shoveling snow when it is still light and fluffy is best. The snow that has recently fallen is more lightweight than snow that has had time to sit and start to harden and freeze. It is common for some people to have a heart attack while shoveling snow after having a sedentary lifestyle for months before. Before shoveling, it’s important to stretch and get your heart rate up a bit to prepare your body. Always shovel smaller piles, and push the snow instead of lifting it. If you do decide to lift it, use your legs to lift and not your back. Take frequent breaks and drink a lot of water. If you become lightheaded or start to notice chest pains, get inside immediately. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia happens when heat leaves your body faster than it can create it. This can be caused by not wearing the proper attire when outside for extended periods. It can happen while shoveling or just walking outside in the winter, and symptoms come out slowly, so you are typically not aware it is happening. Symptoms typically include:

  • Shivering
  • Exhaustion
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion

If you believe you or someone else is suffering from hypothermia, get inside immediately to cover up with blankets and layers. Do not make any sudden, jarring movements, as that can cause an irregular heartbeat. Always try to dress appropriately depending on the temperature outside. Depending on the weather, hypothermia can happen in as little as 10 or 15 minutes.

AFC Urgent Care Waltham is here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about safety this winter. Please visit our clinic, or call us at 781-894-6900.