Winter Safety

Dr. David Tillitt, Emergency Services at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center

Snow, ice and the winter landscape can be beautiful. Unfortunately, it can also be harsh, unforgiving and downright dangerous.

However, according to Dr. David Tillitt, there are some simple things we can do to protect ourselves this and every winter.

“Skiing and snowboarding are increasingly popular and account for a significant number of emergency room visits each year,” said Dr. Tillitt. “You can reduce your risk of injury by skiing with a partner, staying on marked trails, and making sure your equipment is functioning properly and fitting well.” Dr. Tillitt also warns that skiers should be aware of their fatigue factor, and always stay alert throughout the day. “Just like driving a car, you have to be a defensive skier. Often times the injury isn’t your fault, but the fault of someone else.”

Sledding is another favorite winter activity, which has its own dangers. “It’s always smart to wear a helmet and padded clothing. And make sure you’re sledding in a safe area with no hidden rocks or objects you might run into such as a tree or fence.” Dr. Tillitt also insists adults accompany kids on their outings, and never sled down the path headfirst.

Finally, when it comes to cleaning up snow, take extra care. Every year, people clearing snow injure themselves through overexertion, slipping and falling, or pulling a muscle. Even snow blowers must be used with extreme caution. “Snow blowers are the leading cause of finger amputations,” warns Dr. Tillitt. “Most injuries occur when attempts are made to clear the snow blower chute by hand. Always follow the product instructions and think of safety first.”