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Stay Safe in the Snow By Joseph Yallowitz, Director of Emergency Medicine, The Valley Hospital

The No.1 winter-related reason for visits to Valley’s Emergency Room this winter (aside from the flu) has been injuries from slips and falls on ice-covered surfaces. With another winter storm bearing down on the area we urge you to take steps to reduce your risk of injury.

Walking on ice is extremely dangerous. Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways, and porches. Keep your steps and walkways as free of ice as possible by using rock salt or another chemical de-icing compound. Sand may also be used on walkways to reduce the risk of slipping. Wear weather-appropriate boots and shoes to prevent falls. Flat shoes with traction are best in the ice and snow. Take slower, shorter steps to reduce your chance of falling.


Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. It can also cause strained muscles and back injuries. If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or back problems, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold, or consider having someone else shovel for you. If you are cleared to shovel snow, dress warmly and work slowly. Pace yourself and don’t work to the point of exhaustion.

Be especially careful when using snow blowers. Most injuries associated with snow blowers involve injuries to the hands or fingers, including amputation. These injuries typically occur when users try to clear a clog with their hands. Before clearing a clog at the auger or discharge chute, turn off the engine or motor. Then use a clearing tool, never your hands, to remove the clog.

Please stay safe before and after the storm tomorrow. If you need us we are here for you but we would prefer that you stay healthy!

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