As the weather cools down here in Rawlins County, we’re keeping plenty busy at the Health Center. During this chilly season, our health center sees a large increase in specific kinds of accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Curious as to what brings our patients to a health center in the winter? Take a look at these common reasons.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Yes, one of the most common causes of injury during the winter is from falling, tripping, or slipping. We get more than our fair share of icy covered walkways and roads here in Atwood. Add the fact that it gets darker earlier in the winter, and it makes it hard to pick out icy spots while you’re out walking the dog in the evening. While a simple fall may not sound like much, it can have serious effects in some cases. More than just sprained ankles, you can injure your back, hit your head, or dislocate a joint if you land awkwardly. To avoid slipping this winter, we suggest wearing footwear with an aggressively textured sole, traction devices, or thoroughly deicing the walkways around your home. Wearing a headlamp at night is also a great safety measure.
We also see a lot of fall injuries resulting from people hanging holiday lights. It should go without saying that you should always have someone at the base of the ladder to spot you while you’re working on hanging the lights. This helps to keep the ladder stable, and in the event of a fall, you have someone to get you help right away.
When the weather gets colder, some of us begin to limit our activities, or we change which activities we do. As a result, muscle injuries are very common during the winter, and they often occur in response to seemingly mundane activities. We frequently have patients come in who have thrown out their back while shoveling their driveways and scraping ice off of their windshields.
Muscle injuries are the result of sudden, violent, or twisting motions that you’re not used to making. We encourage you to be cautious in how you move this winter. If something aches when you move a certain way, that’s a good sign to stop making that motion and to meet with a doctor.
As snow drifts past our windows, we all love to curl up inside and enjoy a warm beverage or a fire in our stove. While this might be a timeless part of our winter activities, it’s also a source of injuries. We see an increase in the number of burn injuries in winter because people are trying to stay warm. For instance, someone might be boiling some water on the stove to make some tea, and accidentally pour the boiling liquid on their hands. Others might nonchalantly rest their hand on their burning wood stove, forgetting they just put a new log on the fire.
Be aware of heat sources this winter. Give stoves and fireplaces a wide berth, and be careful when you’re handling hot water or dishes right out of the oven. Should you experience a minor burn, you can treat it with cold water and a little burn relief cream. For more serious burns, it’s best if you come to see us at our medical center.
Colds, Flu, and Illnesses
With the cold weather comes cold symptoms. Snuffy noses, puffy eyes, and ragged coughs are all signs that winter has arrived. If your cold or flu symptoms seem to worsen with time, and over-the-counter medications aren’t doing their part in helping, you’ll want to take time to visit our health center and clinic. In addition to the flu and colds, we see other common illnesses like strep throat during the winter months.
We encourage everyone to get a flu shot at the beginning of the fall season, but in some cases, that may not be enough. You should be diligent about washing your hands throughout the day, using tissues, and keep hand sanitizer nearby after sneezing.
Visit Your Health Center in Atwood Today
Rawlins County Health Center is a cornerstone of northwest Kansas. We offer all of the medical services you need to enjoy your life to the fullest. Whether you’ve got a nasty cold or you’re in need of a routine medical checkup, we’re here to help. Schedule an appointment and visit us today.