Be careful out there

Staff Reporter | November 15, 2020 9:36 PM

KELLOGG — Winter weather means chilly temps and more treacherous terrain and these conditions are the tops when it comes to causing injuries.

Joanne Bonner is a licensed and registered occupational therapist at Shoshone Medical Center and she wants to warn local residents of the dangers the current climate presents and how to avoid them.

“Did you know that injuries occur most often in these three weather conditions?” Bonner said. “Heavy wet snow, snowfall accumulation greater than 6 inches, and a temperature greater than 28 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Winter conditions, especially in North Idaho, can vary wildly from day-to-day, and honestly minute-to-minute.

“We never truly know what to expect even when checking the weather app on our phone or listening to the local forecast on the news,” Bonner said. “As an occupational therapist of over six years, I have learned to expect an increase in patient injuries from falls during the winter months.”

Bonner has several simple tips for folks looking to safely just get around during the winter months, all of which can significantly reduce the potential risk associated with this time of year.

• Wear shoes or boots which provide traction on snow and ice.

• Wear a heavy/bulky coat that will cushion you if you should fall.

• Use hand railings whenever possible.

• Walk along a grassy edge of snow or ice (always assume, in cold temperatures, that wet and dark surfaces on pavement are slippery and icy).

• During the day, wear your sunglasses to help you see better and avoid hazards.

• Do not try to carry too much at once. Overloading will inhibit balance and increase your risk of falling. Make multiple trips if necessary (leave heavier items for family members or friends to bring inside).

“These are general guidelines to help you reduce the risk of suffering an injury during the winter months,” Bonner said. “Do not let the fear of falling isolate yourself from meaningful interactions with friends and family. Stay warm and safe out there.”

For more information or access to further resources, please contact Shoshone Medical Center at 208-784-1221.