EMSA Offers Safety Tips During Winter Weather
OKLAHOMA CITY - A winter storm has already dumped up to a foot of snow in parts of Oklahoma Sunday morning.
For many children and adults, winter time brings a whole new set of sports and outdoor activities. EMSA paramedics are offering some useful tips to stay safe while enjoying these activities during winter weather.
Hockey, ice skating, sledding, skiing, snowboarding and other cold-weather activities are a great way to get some fresh air and exercise during snowy days. However, they are also a great way to become injured.
Sledding is the winter activity that is most often enjoyed by young children. However, according to EMSA, while it is safer than many other sports, sledding does offer safety risks if one is not careful. In 2007, more than 106,900 people were injured in sledding accidents—and a majority of them were under the age of 14.
The vast majority of winter sports injuries are the result of bodies making contact with hard winter surfaces, like ice or hard-packed snow.
Head injuries are usually the most dangerous types of injuries, because damage to the brain is difficult to treat and often results in long-term health problems. In 2007, more than 10 percent of the total number of people injured suffered head injuries playing winter sports. Of course, the best and easiest way to prevent a head injury in just about any sport in any season is to wear a helmet that fits well and is appropriate to the sport.
Shoulder injuries are some of the most frequent orthopedic difficulties that occur when bodies make contact with hard surfaces, such as ice. This is what a normal, healthy shoulder joint looks like.
Your shoulder has the greatest range of motion of all of your joints. Dislocation of the shoulder occurs when the ball, known as the humeral head, rolls out of the socket.. Sometimes your muscles will pull it back in, but in some cases, the shoulder joint is damaged enough that the dislocation will recur.
Concerns regarding exposure to low temperatures or low wind chills
Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill around –20°F could cause frostbite in just 15 minutes or less. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear tips or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, call 911.
Hypothermia is a condition that develops when the body temperature drops below 95°F. It is very deadly. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Call 911 immediately!
Overexertion is dangerous. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make an existing medical condition worse.
Pets also need extra care when the temperatures fall. They should be brought inside when the temperature reaches 30°F with wind chill. Dogs and cats can get frost bitten ears, nose and feet if left outside during bitter cold weather. Chemicals used to melt snow and ice can also irritate pets' paws - be sure to keep anti-freeze, salt and other poisons away from pets.
Thoughts about safety for residents in wintery weather.
As an Oklahoman you have to get used to dramatic changing weather conditions. In this area, the temps can go from 75 to 20 degrees in one day. Being weather aware can save your life. Preparing for the inevitable is smart. EMSA recommends having a medical kit reserve at all time for the summers and winters. The winter kits including ;
Any medications you need. Make sure they're not outdated or expired. Oxygen tanks if needed
1 Premium Sunscreen,
1 Tissue Packet,
1 Emergency Thermal Blanket,
1 Pair Hand Warmers,
1 Pair Toe Warmers,
1 Aloe Packet,
2 Blistex Lip Ointment,
3 Lens Wipes,
1 First Aid Guide,
4 Bandage Strips,
2 First Aid Burn Cream,
2 Alcohol Wipes,
3 Antiseptic Swabs,
2 Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes,
1 First Aid Quick Card
Carry a winter storm survival kit in the back seat of your vehicle (in case your trunk jams or is frozen shut) that includes:
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• First-aid kit
• Shovel, tools, booster cables and windshield scraper
• High-calorie non-perishable food (raisins, candy bars, energy/protein bars, etc.)
• Sand or cat litter to use for traction
• Cell phone adapter Flashlights and extra batteries
• Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and a commercial radio
• Bottled water and non-perishable food that requires no cooking
• First-aid supplies
• Fire extinguisher, smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector
• If appropriate, extra medications and baby items
• If you have an emergency heating source such as a fireplace or space heater, make sure you have proper ventilation
Last but not least, please check on elderly loved ones and elderly neighbors. Make sure their homes are warm and they're dressed appropriately for the colder temperatures. Call your loved ones on the phone or stop by for a visit if the roads are safe to travel. Elderly and children need to be looked after by adults.