Emergency rooms are reporting an increase in broken bones and fractures as temperatures plunge well below freezing bringing ice and snow to many parts of the country.
An increase in dangerous, icy conditions across the nation as areas receive yet another frigid blast also leads more people to suffer broken bones in winter. Falls are common in parking lots or at homes. Additionally, some populations, such as the elderly, those with impaired vision, or those with balance problems, are at increased risk of injury from a winter fall.
During the winter holiday season, shoppers who find themselves in dark, icy parking lots are at risk of falling and suffering broken bones in winter. Additionally, those putting up or taking down holiday decorations in winter weather face a risk of injury. Hospitals report that there are nearly one million admissions for winter falls that result in injuries.
Broken bones in winter are also particularly dangerous because of the bone chilling temperatures reaching well below zero in many locations. Exposure to the elements is a real risk if a person is unable to move after a fall.
The elderly are particularly vulnerable to strains, sprains, and fractures because of falls in icy conditions. Emergency rooms in locations with a large population of elderly residents say that they are at their breaking point finding resources to deal with winter related injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the leading cause of injury in the elderly are falls. Sadly, an older person dies from injuries related to a call every 19 minutes and falls led to over 27,000 deaths in 2014.
Falls leading to broken bones in winter takes a financial toll as well. The CDC predicts that by 2020, the cost of treating injuries related to falls will reach $67.7 billion.
Avoiding Broken Bones in Winter
You can take steps to avoid falls and protect your loved ones and others from broken bones in winter. To avoid a fall, be sure to wear appropriate shoes for the weather. Try to be aware of and avoid icy sidewalks and other surfaces. Try to keep your hands free while walking and, if necessary, use a walking stick, cane, or walker. Those dealing with holiday decorations or home repair need to be especially careful on ladders in icy conditions. Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption can also save you from a fall in icy conditions.
Any vision, strength, or balance problems should be checked out by a doctor. If you experience strength or balance problems, it may be a good idea to consider physical therapy or another program depending on your doctor’s advice. Some healthcare facilities offer fall prevention classes to help older adults.
To protect your loved ones and others from broken bones in winter, be sure to shovel your driveway and sidewalk as necessary and keep your home and property free of hazards. Offer to help the elderly or others with bulky packages or other objects if you can do so safely.
If you or a loved one suffered broken bones in winter because of a fall or some other incident and you are concerned about the physical and financial burdens you face, contact an attorney at Bradley/Grombacher to evaluate any legal claims you may have.