As a result of the current adverse weather conditions, HSE services including emergency departments, ambulance service, primary care centres, and GP services are experiencing an upsurge in the number of people presenting with sprains, fractures, and cuts as a result of slips and falls on icy roads and footpaths.
“Our injury prevention advice is that anybody who is unsteady on their feet or has a disability should stay indoors as they are more prone to a fall on the ice,” said Dr John Ryan, consultant and senior clinical lecturer, St Vincent’s University Hospital. “Get friends, family, and neighbours to help with getting shopping and medicines if you need supplies.
“People need to be aware that while roads may be clear, the paths are treacherous so please walk slowly. If you do fall and are injured it’s really important that you do not delay in seeking medical attention at the nearest emergency department. The injuries to people who fall on ice are high velocity in their nature and as such there would be a likelihood of breaking a limb which, if left untreated, could result in life long effects so urgent medical attention is of paramount importance. Also remember to stay warm by wearing layers of clothes, keep the heating on, and check on elderly neighbours regularly.”
Wear well-fitted shoes with non-slip soles if you have to go out but try to limit walking during the current cold weather.
Clear the ice from your footpath and around your house and assist less capable neighbours in doing the same.
Check in on elderly neighbours that they have enough food, heat, and prescription medications.
If you have a fall, even a minor one, make sure you visit your doctor for a check up.
Further information on health services in your area is available through the HSE Information Line, 1850 241850, and on the HSE website. Remember to call 112 or 999 if you need an ambulance.
As part of its Winter Initiative the HSE information booklet, Keep Well This Winter, highlights what you can do to protect your health and well-being during the winter season. Aimed particularly at older and vulnerable people, the booklet is available from HSE Information Line on 1850 241850 and www.hse.ie