Slips and falls from Monday’s ice lead to increase in ER visits

Both CoxHealth and Mercy saw a jump in emergency room patients
Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 6:43 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - As we’ve seen in the past, snow and ice can lead to slick spots on the roads. This wintry weather affects more than just drivers and roadways.

Every year in the U.S., around 300,000 are injured and 1,500 die from fall-related injuries. The majority of those occur in snow and ice.

And with the icy conditions the area saw Monday, both CoxHealth and Mercy saw a big jump in emergency room visits.

”Anytime we see ice accumulation like we had recently, we’re gonna see a pretty significant increase in falls,” said Luke Spain, Injury Prevention Outreach Coordinator with CoxHealth.

Slippery sidewalks and parking lots can be treacherous in snow and ice. Inevitably, some folks will lose their footing, and take a tumble.

“Just take a look at the thing that hurts,” began Joe Jones, DO, an emergency room physician with Mercy. “If your wrist is shaped the wrong way or your ankle is pointed the wrong direction or if you can’t put any weight on your hip, there’s a good chance you broke something and you need to come see us.”

In many cases, this risk of falling is higher from people walking a dog who gets the owner off balance. No matter how a fall happens, it may result in a number of different injuries.

“Extremity injuries, the fractures and breaks of arms and hands where people are trying to catch themselves when they fall,” said Spain.

Slippery sidewalks can also result in head and back injuries. And no matter what hurts:

“People who don’t get good pain control through Tylenol and ibuprofen, if their pain’s getting worse and not better, that’s a good reason to come get seen,” said Dr. Jones.

The best bet is to avoid the risk if you can.

“Don’t go out unless you absolutely have to,” advised Dr. Jones. “If you do, go extra carefully slow, no distractions.”

“Texting and being on your phone can be a huge distraction,” said Spain. “And we do see a lot of people fall just because they’re not paying close attention.”

One way to minimize slipping and falling is to walk like a penguin. Waddle while taking small steps and use your arms for balance.

Also, make sure you’re wearing shoes with a good grip.

Finally, it’s a good idea to wipe your shoes off before walking inside to avoid slipping on any snow or ice that has collected on your shoes.

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