Snow brings heart attacks, falls and trauma

Written by Teresa Boeckel/York Daily Record | Jan 28, 2016 8:34 AM

Luis Carrallo watches as a long-awaited front-end loader clears the 600 block of Wallace Street in York. Winter storm Jonas dropped about 30 inches of snow in York over the weekend. Carrallo was attempted to dig himself out, saying the snow had cost him several days of work. (Photo: Kate Penn, York Daily Record)

Falls are a concern from the freeze and thaw cycle

(York) -- The emergency room at York Hospital has been seeing problems related to the weather, such as heart attacks, injuries from falls and trauma from snow blowers.

A couple of the heart attacks resulted from shoveling snow, said Eric Bowman, an emergency medicine physician at York Hospital. One happened from using a snowblower.

He recommends doing exercises that require exertion throughout the year, he said. If you don't, take it slow to see if any chest pain develops.

Emergency room employees also see injuries or amputations from snowblowers -- even though the machines were turned off. Don't reach into the discharge chute or the auger to dislodge snow and ice, Bowman said. The auger can still rotate, which causes injuries. Use a clearing tool that comes with the snowblower.

With all the thawing and freezing, slipping on icy spots will be a concern in the coming days. When people fall forward, they can suffer wrist injuries. When they fall backwards, they can hurt their tailbone or hit their head and suffer a concussion. Older residents can suffer hip injuries.

For the elderly, it's not worth the risk to go out and get the mail, for example. Let someone else get it, or let it pile up, Bowman said.

Be careful when walking. Go slow and scan the area ahead for any possible slick spots, he said. It might even be safer to walk in the snow because if you break through, you still have traction.

He also recommends getting a footwear product that helps to provide stability in wintry weather. It can be slipped on over shoes and has cleats on the bottom.

Bowman also recommends letting someone know what you are doing so someone will know if you are missing.

*This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record

Published in News, York

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