Making Winter Safe


by: Dawn Huffman

Mille Lacs Health System

When winter comes, it’s the time of the year when it is very important to consider your surroundings and the weather, every time you step outside. 

One of the biggest problems is when things become slippery. Slips happen in the blink of an eye so be sure to wear deep tread shoes, exit vehicles carefully, and walk like a penguin. No one wants to be looking up at the sky while lying on a bunch of cold wet snow or ice. These kinds of falls can be serious and can also lead to head injuries. 

Be sure to have snow and ice removed as soon as possible. If you are doing this chore yourself, make sure you warm up those muscles first and use proper equipment. Also, pace yourself. If you need to do it in stages, it’s okay. Catherine Steiner, a Physician Assistant at Mille Lacs Health System Emergency Room said, “Every winter we see back injuries from people trying to shovel too quickly or removing large amounts of snow at a time. It is important to remember that your heart is a muscle as well and significant exertion can trigger a heart attack.”

This is also the time of the year when people like to decorate the outside of their homes. Make sure that when using a ladder, it is sturdy and you have a second person to spot you. Have another set of eyes to watch out for potential hazards. 

Heating your home is a priority in winter weather. It’s also a time to focus on carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure that you are using proper heating devices and have a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Mille Lacs Health System has options available to help you with your emergency needs. The  Emergency Department is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and Urgent Care is available from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. seven days a week. Additionally, should you find yourself needing rehabilitation due to an accident, the Rehab Department provides excellent services that can assist you with your recovery.