It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Winter

December 04, 2010

The Chicago area got its first real snowfall of the season, and if you live near the lake, there’s probably more to come.

As we continue our journey through another Chicago winter, it’s important for residents to remember to stay safe while taking care of their Chicago homes.

“We usually see an increase of patients during cold spells,” said Rahul Khare, MD, Northwestern Medicine emergency room physician. “Cases of minor injuries such as bumps, bruises, and sprains from slips and falls as well as major injuries such as hypothermia are all very common this time of year.”

two adorable kids holding shovels outside their Chicago home in the snow.To have a safe and healthy season, Khare recommends these tips:

*Bundle Up: Dress warm by layering clothes and wear a hat, scarf and gloves to cover all areas of exposed skin.

*Shovel Snow Slow: Each year thousands of people are treated in emergency rooms for heart attacks, strained muscles and other injures related to shoveling snow. While it can be good exercise, snow shoveling can also be dangerous, so pace yourself.

*Don’t Blow Blowing Snow: Snow blowers and throwers make clearing the sidewalks easier, but they also pose a threat. Avoid loose clothing when using one and make sure there are no obstacles that will clog the shoot.

*Light a Safe Fire: More home fires occur during the winter than any other time of year. Have your furnace and chimney inspected, and make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in proper working order.

*Check on Elderly Neighbors: As temperatures drop, be sure to check on elderly neighbors and relatives; cold weather often restricts seniors to their homes and they can be put at risk for health problems if their home is not adequately heated.

*Beware of Icy Conditions: Wear well-insulated boots with good traction when walking around your neighborhood and walk on shoveled sidewalks when possible. If you are walking in the city, beware of falling ice from tall buildings.

“Everyone should be able to enjoy the winter months and prevent cold weather illnesses and injuries if you take simple precautions,” said Khare.

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