When temperatures rise and then suddenly fall (known as a melt-freeze cycle), conditions can quickly become icy and snow can turn into freezing rain. With how unpredictable the weather is lately, it can be hard for cities to keep up with salting the roads, sidewalks, and parking lots.
It’s an extremely dangerous time, especially for the elderly, who could suffer serious damage if they slip and fall on the ice.
Not Just a Bruised Ego
Slipping and falling on ice can be embarrassing, especially since it’s going to happen in the eyes of the public. But it’s not just an incident to laugh off – you could find yourself with injuries ranging from minor to severe after a fall.
Back Injuries and Persistent Pain
Perhaps the worst way to fall after slipping on ice is to land on your back. The pain can be immediate or it can start out as a dull pain that slowly leads up to something much more inhibiting.
If you fall on your back and are in a lot of pain don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention. The same goes for persistent pain that won’t go away and is seriously limiting your day-to-day activities.
For minor to moderate injuries, you’ll want to consider seeking professional advice from a back pain clinic that can give you an exercise routine to help you heal faster.
Sprains and Strains
Twisting an ankle is no joke – especially if you end up stretching or tearing a ligament. Depending on the ‘grade’ of your ankle injury, a sprained ankle could take months to recover and at worst persist for years.
A visit to the doctor may not be necessary, but to avoid further agitation or injury, be sure to immediately treat the swelling by applying ice and elevating the injured foot. After these steps, you’ll want to compress your ankle with a tensor bandage, which will also help with swelling.
Hip fractures are a real threat for people older than 65, meaning that the elderly should be especially careful when navigating slippery and icy conditions. Hip injuries are fairly common when slipping and falling because when you land on your side your hip will most likely take the full brunt of the impact.
Giving your head a good bonk on the ice is a sure way to get a concussion. If you ever experience symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, or headaches after hitting your head, be sure to seek medical attention.
And as with most things, if someone is over the age of 65 and they hit their head during a fall, it’s recommended that they visit a doctor just to make sure everything is alright.
Prevention is the Best Way to Avoid Injury
Obviously, the best way to avoid long-term injuries from slipping and falling is to not slip and fall in the first place. This could mean avoiding going outside altogether, especially for the elderly. But, if you must venture out there, be sure you are wearing proper winter footwear and taking short, careful steps.