Between frostbite, black ice, and snow storms, winter is a dangerous season for anyone braving the elements. Our slip and fall attorneys are located in Chicago, and are well aware of the major health concerns associated with northern winters. We would like to highlight a few tricks to prevent some of the more catastrophic injuries season.
First, let’s tackle frostbite. The first step to preventing this is recognizing when you are most at risk of developing it, and the factors that contribute to it beyond the obvious freezing wind-chill. Risk of frostbite is significantly higher for those who smoke, have diabetes or any other blood vessel condition, are dehydrated or fatigued, live in higher altitudes, and are not wearing adequate clothing.
It is important to cover your ears, face, head and nose. Now is not the time to be fashionable – wear a ski mask if you have to, or at least invest in a great, long scarf that can be wrapped around your neck up to your nose. Next, ensure you have proper footwear, meaning nothing with open toes or holes in them. It is also a good idea to put on two pairs of socks, or buy wool or insulated socks.
Mittens and gloves provide great protection, especially if you including an insulating layer beneath your thicker gloves. If you drive to work, keep a permanent set of gear in your vehicle, including blankets, flash lights, a first aid kid, matches, etc. Try to carpool if you can. As a general rule, remember: more layers = more protection
Slip and Falls and Black Ice
According to the National Safety Council, about nine million Americans suffer a serious slip and fall every year. Most occur at the entrances of buildings, in parking lots and garages, or inside walkways where slush has been tracked in. To avoid such an accident:
- Watch out for uneven ground (holes, debris), which is often hiding beneath mounds of snow
- Take your time, especially on ground without much traction. Walk slowly and carefully
- Walk with a slight “shuffle” with your feet pointing forward as much as possible
- Keep a watchful eye out for black ice, which is incredibly dangerous and notoriously hard to see
Cold and Flu
In the winter, illnesses like the common cold and influenza proliferate throughout the country. It is important, no matter what you’ve heard in the media, to get a flu shot. This is the most effective and efficient way to stop influenza spread. Also remember to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently to avoid illness spread. Wash your hands before eating, before leaving the bathroom, and before touching your face – wash for at least 20 seconds, use a paper towel to shut off the faucet and open doors to prevent recontamination.
Eating healthy and exercising is just as important in the winter as in the summer. Although we are evolutionarily programmed to crave fattier foods in colder weather, try to keep your fat intake as healthy as possible (think nuts and avocado). Consistent physical activity also boosts the immune system and keeps you as healthy and fit as possible.
Our team of sip and fall attorneys hope everyone can make it through this brutal winter in optimum health. If you or a loved one does happen to suffer a serious injury in any type of accident, we are here to help. Our legal case reviews are always free of charge, and available to injured clients throughout the country, even those immune to cold weather accidents.