Keep yourself from getting injured this winter by taking these easy precautions.

Winter snowstorms can be beautiful until you have to go out in them. Snow, ice, and frost can make sidewalks slippery and dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 10 people over 18 years old report a serious fall each year. Falls can result in bumps, bruises, and broken bones and are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries. Older adults are much more likely to be hospitalized with a serious injury due to a fall. The best way to avoid injury this winter is to be prepared.

Treat Sidewalks and Driveways

The first place many people slip and fall is outside their front door. If you can, pretreat ahead of a storm or spread salt or sand on your sidewalks as soon as the snow stops falling. It’s also best to shovel snow as soon as possible to prevent it from turning to ice later on. Always carry a small bag of ice melt or kitty litter in your car to use when heading out to public places.

Wear Proper Winter Clothing

Although it might be tempting to sneak out in your slippers to get the newspaper, don’t do it. Whenever you head out into the snow, wear shoes or boots with traction and take it slowly until you can see how stable or unstable the ground is. If you use a cane, consider adding grippers to the feet for more stability and wear gloves to protect your hands if you fall.

icing an injured foot

Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. from Pexels

Take Precautions

Whenever you set out—even if it's just a quick walk around the block—make sure to bring a cellphone. That way, if you do fall, you have a way to call for help. Avoid carrying too many bags or packages and keep your line of sight free. When exiting a car in the winter, place both feet on the ground before you pull yourself out of the car.

Stay Still, Call For Help

If you do fall, don’t immediately get up. Wait for a minute and see how you feel. If you can get up, roll to your side, pull your knees in, and push up with your arms until you can get into a position to stand. Use your cellphone to call someone to help or call 911.