This blog post is from Andrew MacPherson, MD
Member, American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council
Pop Quiz! Name those Olympic injury owners (answers at the bottom):
1) Which US snowboarder separated her shoulder while practicing her moves on the half pipe?
2) Who was hit by a speeding bobsled?
3) What famous Russian skater pulled out of the men’s competition because of severe back pain?
You may not be an Olympic athlete, but like me, you are inspired by them to get moving in our winter wonderland. This can often lead to injuries. Do you know all you need to keep safe?
Here are my top tips for preventing common winter injuries.
1. Runners. You have it extra tough trying to stay warm and dry without getting bogged down. Whether you are a casual jogger or elite marathoner, when you run in winter weather wear layered lightweight clothing; it keeps you warmer than a single heavy coat. Moisture-wicking layers can keep you dry and moving when the temperature drops.
2. Skis and Skates. Winter sports mean skiing, snowboarding, skating or ice hockey, and enthusiasts have a range of proper safety equipment designed for protection. But it only works if you wear it, so never skimp on recommended gear – especially helmets and goggles.
3. Off-road. If you prefer your activities off the beaten track, always think obstacles: snow-covered trees and rocks can really ruin your day. Outdoor ice skaters should be sure their lake is frozen safely solid by consulting local official sources. Most importantly, let someone know where you’ll be and when to expect you back for that cup of hot chocolate.
4. Brrrrrr. When you work up that outdoor sweat, it’s easy to forget that Jack Frost is still ready to bite. Know the signs of frostbite – numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration or a waxy feeling – and get inside and get help. If you are feeling confused, dizzy, exhausted or experience severe shivering, those are signs of hypothermia and it’s time get medical attention pronto.
5. Sunblock. Just because it is cold doesn’t mean it isn’t sunny! Sunlight can reflect off the snow and getting sunburn can be faster than on the beach. Wear a good activity-proof sunblock whenever you are active outside.
Still have questions? The Red Cross has a great, FREE First Aid app that covers all the basics. Download it from Apple iTunes or Google Play Store or go to the Red Cross mobile apps page.
1) Arielle Gold
2) An Sochi bobsled track worker was hit by a bobsled
3) Evgeni Plushenko
Filed under: Preparedness