Wrist fractures, hip fractures and head injuries are common injuries that occur as a result of snowy and icy conditions.
Ways to prevent falls:
Stay inside until roads and sidewalks have been cleared.
Take your time walking; walk with slower and shorter steps.
Wear proper footwear that has a good rubber tread for traction.
Injuries to ligaments and muscles, especially in the lower back, are common from the bending, twisting and heavy lifting associated with shoveling.
To prevent injury:
Pace yourself and take frequent breaks.
Wear proper footwear and dress for winter conditions.
Try pushing the snow as opposed to lifting and throwing it over your shoulders.
Hypothermia can occur when the body's core temperature lowers faster than it can maintain its normal level of 98.6ºF. It can also occur by a sudden wetting of the body from general exposure to winter conditions or falling into a body of water.
What to remember:
Protection: Cover all exposed areas including your hands, face and neck.
Overexertion: Avoid activities that can cause you to sweat, which can cause dampness and loss of body heat.
Layers: Wear loose layers that will trap air and insulate you from the cold.
Dryness: Stay as dry as possible. Make sure that no snow can get into your clothing and create dampness.
In 2010 alone, more than 440,000 people were treated at hospitals, emergency rooms and doctor's offices for winter sports-related injuries, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
148,000 injuries from snowboarding
144,000 injuries from skiing
58,500 injuries from ice skating
91,000 injuries from sledding
Common injuries include strains, sprains, dislocations and fractures. These injuries tend to happen towards the end of the day when people overexert themselves.
Some prevention strategies:
Never participate in a winter sport alone.
Warm up before participating; cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury.
Wear appropriate clothing and protective gear (goggles, helmets, gloves and padding).
Ensure that equipment is working properly before you use it.
Drink plenty of water before, during and after activities.
Avoid participating in sports when you are in pain or fatigued.
Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if you, or anyone with you, are experiencing symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite.