Hypothermia, fractures, frostbite worry doctors in winter

Cone Health and Novant Health warn of the dangers of winter weather and the injuries that can occur.

GREENSBORO, NC — Sub-freezing temperatures have doctors urging everyone to be careful, especially if you have to be outdoors.

Doctors from Cone Health and Novant Health said they have seen an increase in the number of patients with injuries from slips and falls on ice and snow this week.

Dr. Brenda Manfredi, family medicine at Novant Health, said over the past few days she has seen several people fall on the ice. She said many had concussions, one had a fractured wrist, another with a sprained back and numerous bruises, bumps, cuts and scrapes.

She said to avoid falling, find a clear path to walk on, and if possible, don’t take anything with you.

“You want to make sure you’re wearing the right clothes. Boots, ideally, something with some tread on them so you don’t slip as easily. When walking, take small steps instead of big steps, drag , it’s actually a better way to walk on ice,” Dr. Manfredi said.

“Every step that people take, you have to assume that I’m going down to the next step,” said Dr. Thomas Thekkekandam, sports medicine physician at Cone Health.

He said that every day since the storm, his practice has seen at least two injuries a day, mostly broken bones, bumps and bruises.

“If someone feels like they are about to fall, try to bend over, bend over and protect your head. This is the best way to protect your vital organs, head and chest “, said Dr. Thekkekandam.

However, this weekend Dr Thekkekandam said he was more concerned about hypothermia and frostbite.

He suggests wearing three layers of clothing. The first is polyester, the second a lighter and fluffier layer like wool, and the third should be a water-repellent material.

“The very young and the very old lose temperature faster and they have less ability to regulate their own temperature,” Dr Thekkekandam said.

He also recommends wearing mittens instead of gloves, as mittens keep your fingers together and therefore warmer.

How do you know you have hypothermia? Dr Thekkekandam said if you start having difficulty speaking and thinking and the chills don’t stop, you need to see a doctor.

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