Doctors see an increase in winter injuries as cold weather drags on

Published: Mar. 5, 2019 at 2:19 PM CST
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As winter continues to drag on area hospitals are seeing a rise in weather-related accidents and injuries.

HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and Mayo Clinic Health System say the most common winter injuries doctors are seeing are slips and falls.

Dr. Paul Horvath with Mayo Clinic said, “Our number of leg fractures, tibia/fibia lower leg fractures, are up really high.”

R.N. Larissa Rebarchek with HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital says preparedness is key to prevent landing in the emergency room.

“Good footwear in consideration of the terrain you're walking on,” said Rebarchek. “Consider even adding spikes to your daily footwear, those shoe holders that go around your feet, and maybe a supporting device for the aging community who wouldn't normally use a cane.”

Dr. Horvath says another major problem is T-bone car crashes as significant snow build-up lowers visibility and can cause severe injury.

“There's not a whole lot of metal around you at that point,” said Dr. Horvath. “If you got hit from the front you'd have the whole front of the car and the bumper and the engine to absorb that impact so when people get hit from the side they tend to have different injury patterns, potentially more severe injury patterns.”

In that case doctors recommend drivers adjust habits for conditions and make sure to have warm clothes on hand to prevent frostbite if you get stuck in an accident.

Dr. Horvath added, “We've seen a handful of cases of frostbite of somewhat pretty severe frostbite. Lots of hands, lots of feet people who aren't really dressing for conditions as well.”

Rebarchek said, “We are still seeing extremely cold weather for March and it's very important to be prepared for vehicle related emergencies and whatnot to be prepared to be warm in the cold weather. So hats mittens boots those are all every essential items to have in the car right now. “

Doctors also say to avoid climbing up on your roof to clear off snow it's best to simply hire a professional.

Medical professionals also say to keep an eye out for icicles so that you don't get a serious bump on the head.