Heartland hospitals see increase in snow-related injuries

Published: Jan. 16, 2018 at 10:34 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2018 at 3:43 PM CST
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MT. VERNON, IL (KFVS) - The winter weather doesn't only make for dangerous driving conditions, walking your dog or just checking your mail can pose a risk.

The ice is one issue and the cold is another. That's why Calvin Moore plans for extra time to get to work in these weather condition. He pays close attention to every step he takes.

"Walk really slowly, take your time," said Moore. "I really do walk slowly because I had slipped before and I don't want to do it again."

Thanks to all the ice, hospitals across the Heartland are seeing an increase in the number of fall-related injuries, and some happening close to your home.

"When I was walking it was kind of dangerous because the maintenance guys didn't clear off the sidewalk yet," said Moore.

Dr. Scott Roustio, the Emergency Medical Director at SSM Hospital in Mt Vernon, explains what type of snow-related injuries they've seen in the E.R.

"Hip fractures is a common one in the elderly," said Roustio. "Wrist fractures in all age groups, and the occasional head trauma and those can range from minor bumps bruises lacerations to more significant hemorrhages to the brain particular people who are on blood thinner."

Dr. Roustio offers few tips to prevent falling:

  • Wear shoes that have soles that grip
  • Use a cane or walker to help you keep your balance
  • Standup, sit or walk slowly
  • Stay active - the exercise can help strengthen your muscles and improve your balance.

While falling can be bad, so can hypothermia, but it's preventable according to Dr. Roustio. He suggests to avoid heavy alcohol use, to cover the exposed areas, dress in layers. And, avoid getting wet an avoid prolonged exposure.

"Take care of yourself but also keep an eye out for other people who maybe can't do the best job at taking care of themselves," he said. "Those are the people that we often see. The people that don't have help and they end up in more dire situations.

Hospitals in Cape Girardeau said they've treated more than 100 patients for fall-related injuries since the winter weather moved in.

Saint Francis said they've had 50 ice and snow-related injuries.

Southeast Health said since Friday morning, there have been 60 slip/trip/fall visits to their emergency department.

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