Winters in Kansas City can be treacherous. The cold winter weather, precipitation and holiday season get togethers can cause icy roads, increases in drunk drivers and household disasters. All of these events can all lead to serious injuries. Recognizing the five most common causes of injuries in the winter months could help you avoid them. Cross a trip to the hospital off your list this season.
What Are Common Injuries Suffered in the Winter Months?
Wintertime accidents can cause a variety of injuries. Many are serious and require emergency medical care, such as head injuries, including concussions, and broken bones and severe lacerations. Hospitals throughout Kansas City treat patients for many different injuries in the winter months especially.
- Bone fractures
- Pulled or strained muscles
- Burn injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
A serious injury could cost tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, plus lost wages from being forced out of work while you recover. It is always better to prevent an injury than to try to recover from one.
Slip and Falls on Snow and Ice
Missouri and Kansas see plenty of snowfall in a typical winter season. December through March see the greatest amount in Kansas City, but snow can start accumulating as early as October and last as long as April. Snow and ice come with a high risk of slip and fall accidents. Even as a longtime resident of snowy Kansas City, you may slip on an invisible patch of ice and suffer a serious injury, such as a fractured hip or sprained wrist. Do your best to avoid slip and fall accidents this winter by watching where you step, using shoes with high traction, taking it slow, and clearing your driveway of ice and snow often.
If you do suffer an injury resulting from a slip on snow or ice, seek medical treatment from urgent care or, if necessary, call first responders if the injury is serious.
Muscle Strains and Aches From Shoveling Snow
Shoveling snow is a necessity for most homeowners in a Kansas City winter. Breaking out the snow shovel should not mean an injury at the end of the day, however. Shoveling snow incorrectly could lead to painful muscle strains, such as back injuries and/or neck pain. Avoid these common snow shoveling injuries by lifting smaller amounts of snow at a time and doing your best not to twist your back each time you dump a shovel-full of snow. If you do experience muscle aches or pain from shoveling snow, take a warm Epsom salt bath to loosen the muscles. Then, use an ice pack for the first day or two to reduce inflammation before switching to a source of heat to increase the blood flow and facilitate healing.
Car accidents occur year-round, but the presence of snow and ice in Kansas and Missouri makes them more frequent in the winter months. According to the US Department of Transportation, 24% of weather-related crashes each year occur due to snow and ice. Fifteen percent (15%) occur during snow or sleet storms. Avoid wintertime car accidents by using the correct tires or snow chains, properly maintaining your vehicle, reducing your speed, paying attention to the road, and obeying traffic laws.
Drunk driving increases in the winter months due to the holidays. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s alone, an average of 300 people die in drunk driving collisions each year. Never operate a motor vehicle after drinking any amount of alcohol. Avoid collisions with other drunk drivers by looking out for common signs of intoxication, such as drifting, hitting the rumble strip on the side of the road, speeding and reckless driving. If you spot what might be a drunk driver, call the police and give them the driver’s license plate number while maintaining a safe distance.
Another common injury suffered in the winter months is carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty household appliances. Carbon monoxide leaks from gas-powered ovens or heating systems can cause serious illnesses and even deaths, especially in children and animals. Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by having a professional inspect and maintain your appliances. Replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors every six months. Like most accidents and winter injuries during the colder months, carbon monoxide poisoning is entirely preventable.