Mark White

Dec 302014

Old man winter is bearing down on the United States, and for a good portion of us that means winter weather is near (or already here). In much of the country, this also means frigid temperatures, ice storms, and snow could contribute to some significant injuries.

In fact, more than 50,000 Americans wind up with winter-related back injuries every year, and countless others suffer back pain or pulled muscles from shoveling or fractures from slipping and falling on ice.

Protect your skin from winter temperatures by wearing warm gloves, a hat and a scarf when you’re outdoors.

Heart attacks are also a concern for those shoveling snow, particularly if you’re not in top physical shape. People who rarely exercise are actually up to 30 times more likely to have a heart attack while snow shoveling, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

As is true any time of year, the difference between staying safe and getting injured is often just a matter of taking the appropriate precautions. Here we’ve compiled some of the top tips to keep you accident-free this season.

Be Smart About Shoveling. This means…

  • Using a good ergonomically correct shovel
  • Keeping your back straight and pushing the snow, rather than lifting it
  • Pacing yourself to avoid overexertion (a five-minute break every 15 minutes is a good rule of thumb)
  • Shoveling early and often because newly fallen snow is lighter
  • Coating your shovel with non-stick cook spray to keep the snow from getting heavily packed

If you’re using a snowblower, use a wooden handle from a broom or a stick to clear out a jam — do not reach your hand into the chute.

 Posted by on December 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm
Dec 092014

Hypothermia is defined as a body core temperature ( 98.6 degrees F. or 35.0 degrees C. ) significantly below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body function.

Signs of hypothermia:  Even though signs can develop slowly, people with hypothermia typically experience gradual loss of mental clarity and physical ability.  They may not be aware that they need assistance or medical treatment.  People who are very lean are at particular risk.  People who has consumed a large amount of alcohol or people who have not eaten properly are also at risk.

Symptoms of hypothermia:  Uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, abnormally slow breathing, cold pale skin, loss or coordination, fatigue, lethargic and confusion or memory loss.

Avoidance:  Dress warmly, in layers.  Having an air space between the body and the outer layer of clothing will help retain body heat.  Use clothing made of cotton or wool that will insulate your body and allow sweat to evaporate.  If possible, keep dry.  Wetness increases the chance of cold stress on the body.  Eat right, don’t work alone and take breaks as needed.

First aid:  call 911 and while waiting for assistance to arrive, monitor the person’s breathing.  If breathing should stop immediately start CPR.  Move the person out of the cold.  If no indoors are available, shield the person from the wind and insulate the person from the cold ground.  If possible remove any wet clothing and replace with dry, warm clothing.  Note:  Don’t apply direct heat, i.e. hot water or a heating pad.  Apply warm compresses to the center of the body, head, neck, chest and groin area.  Do not apply heat to the arms or legs as this will force cold blood back towards the heart, lungs and brain.  This could be fatal.  Don’t rub or massage anywhere on the body because any portion of the body could be frostbitten.  Rubbing frostbitten parts of the body can cause severe damage.  Frostbite is caused when fluids around the body’s tissues freeze.  This will cause coldness and tingling in the affected part.  Numbness, changes in skin color such as grayish-yellow hue will become prevalent.  There will be initial pain which will subside as the condition worsens.  There is a chance blisters will occur.  Frostbite can cause irreversible tissue damage which requires immediate medical attention.

 Posted by on December 9, 2014 at 11:23 am