Thursday, December 18, 2008

Slip sliding away...

For those of you who live in areas where temperatures dip below freezing (I just can't imagine living in a place like that - it's so foreign to me!), we've come to that annual season of "walk carefully or you'll break a bone." Yup, it's winter.

Some areas in New England were hit with a massive ice storm recently, snow storms have been blowing in from the west and really smacking southern Ontario, and southern Quebec isn't getting off too lightly. But, the danger isn't so much the snow, it's the ice. Or, later on, when the snow gets packed so hard that it's just like ice.

We just had one of those weather patterns where we had a lot of snow, then the temperature went up well above freezing, followed by a sudden dip to below freezing again. The result? Solid, sheer ice everywhere. Thick, slippery ice.

The news reports were talking about the emergency room visits and fractures, but a few emergency room physicians said that it's not the first day of sheer ice that's so busy for them; it's the day after when people get braver or find that they have to go outside.

Having fallen many times on the ice myself, sometimes seriously, I've tried to learn the tricks of the trade in not falling and if I do fall, how to fall.

The worst thing to do when you fall: put out your hand to stop it. If you put out your hand to break your fall, all the weight of your body and the velocity of the fall can cause your arm to snap as high up as the shoulder or as low as the wrist. I know it's an automatic reflex, but the last time I slipped I somehow had the presence of mind to pull my hand in and let my upper arm (heavily covered with my winter coat) take the brunt of the fall. The risk though, is that I could have banged my head.

Watch your back. Sometimes, when we slip, we jerk our body back upright to stop the fall and this can put a big strain on your back. There are times when it would be better to let yourself into a controlled fall to save your back.

Wear BOOTS. And by that I mean PROPER winter boots. High heels and fashion boots don't have a place on winter ice. Neither do running shoes or any other type of shoe. Like we need good tires for our car, we need good treads on our boots.

Consider buying those crampons they sell for city walking. I bought a pair at Tilley's and used them last year. They really do help you stay upright, but I found you can't walk long distances with them. But, they were a definite improvement when I was out walking the dog.

If you do fall and think you've broken or sprained a limb, or you've smacked your head hard, get it checked at an urgent care or emergency room. They're busy, but it's best to be safe than sorry, right?

By the way, if you're interested in how Santa can stay healthy and safe, you can go over to read my letter to Santa: Santa is a Senior too!

News for Today:

The Truth About 6 Holiday Health Myths

First U.S. face-transplant performed in Ohio


Mark Houston Recovery said...

I love the fact that you are a nurse turned writer (or are you still a nurse too?). It actually lends some credibility to your posts and discussions, which is nice for a change-compared to some other health blogs I've seen recently :)

Marijke Durning said...

thanks Mark. Yes, every so often, I go back to work as an RN for a few months or a year or so. Right now I'm working occasionally in a chronic care/residence for seniors.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Marijke,

Thanks for the holiday myth busters and for all the info you provide all year long.

I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.


Marijke Durning said...

Thanks Terrie! I think you've got to be my most loyal reader. :-)