With record-breaking cold temperatures and snowfall accumulation in the past few weeks, the likelihood of dislocations, fractures, sprains and strains from ice-related falls and winter sports injuries rises, according to doctors at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute. LoganSquairst visited the offices on Jan. 29 at an open house event showcasing the organization’s new Logan Square location (@IBJI, 2923 N. California Ave.) and learned some preventative care tips for residents trying to survive Chiberia 2014.
Dr. Joseph D’Silva, an orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Vishnu Chundi, an infectious disease specialist, offered comprehensive winter health advice for the remaining cold months. They covered a range of winter health risks, beginning with the most obvious risk of falling during icy weather.
Ankle Fractures: Most Common Injury
Don’t be too quick to escape from cabin fever. While many residents are able to stay inside during the first day of the storm, many venture from their homes once the worst of the storm is over. However, next-day clear skies can be deceiving. Many roads, sidewalks and outdoor stairs will be icy from melting snow that refreezes during polar vortex temperatures into hard sheets of ice.
However, if you do have to venture into the neighborhood after a big snow storm ends, here’s some extra advice:
- Keep Balanced: avoid carrying large bags or purses for a few days in order to give yourself an opportunity to catch your balance should you start to slip.
- Light Up: A well-lit path can significantly help you avoid falls during icy weather. Prepare your home by installing adequate lighting to illuminate walkways leading up to your door.
- Take Your Time: Give yourself extra time to make it to vehicles and transit stops safely, especially on the second and third days after storms. Set your alarm clocks a little bit earlier on these days.
- Walk Small: You can find more balance and traction by taking smaller steps and bracing yourself on your car, railings or other means of support.
Dr. D’Silva and Dr. Chundi also advised LoganSquarist readers to be careful when shoveling snow and participating in winter sports. Beware of soft tissue injuries such as torn ligaments and muscles, especially from heavy lifting when clearing snow. Always listen to your body and stop activity when fatigued.
Make The Flu Less Common
Dr. D’Silva and Dr. Chundi advise families with grandparents and young children to recognize that the immune systems between elderly patients and school-age patients are different. Older adults, especially those suffering from orthopedic injuries (like injuries sustained in a slip), will not fight common cold or flu viruses with the same strength as younger children.
“A young student may only be out of school for a week with the flu, but for older patients, the infection could prove fatal,” Dr. Chundi says.
- Visit When Healthy: If Junior has the sniffles, it might be safer to visit with Granny next week.
- Eat, Sleep and Drink: The immune system works best with plenty of rest, hydration and a well-balanced diet. Focus on maintaining recommended amounts of sleep, nutrient-rich food and regular exercise during winter months to increase protection from the flu.
- Cover your Mouth: Covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing helps decrease the transmission of germs.
If Chiberia Does Get The Best Of You …
If you do happen to fall and suffer minor injuries, IBJI’s Logan Square location offers an urgent care walk-in program with shorter wait times and less expensive co-pays than emergency room visits. These services are available Monday and Wednesday 7 am – 6:30 pm, Tuesday and Thursday 7 am – 6 pm and Friday 7 am – noon.
Cover photo: Scott Rubenstein