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Published on January 14, 2016

young woman fell and ice and is laughing

Winter Safety: Falls and Frostbite

This time of year it can be hard to go outside. It’s cold and slippery — never a good combination. We’ve got some great tips to avoid falling and frostbite during the cold winter months.

Frostbite Facts

The best way to avoid frostbite is to be prepared by bundling up and covering up fingers, ears and nose. The best option is to stay inside when it’s extremely cold.

The symptoms of frostbite include a burning or stinging sensation, primarily in the fingers, toes, ears, nose or face. Skin color may become white or waxy. In severe cases you’ll experience a numb sensation.

Once you realize these symptoms are setting in, get inside and remove any wet clothing. Cover exposed areas with dry gloves and blankets. It also helps to immerse hands or feet in warm water — it should feel very warm but not hot when you immerse your injured area. Don’t use direct heat like a stove. You could burn areas that feel numb from frostbite.

Walk Like a Pro

  • Assume all wet, dark areas of pavement are slick and icy and take your time. This time of year, the ground may look wet but may indeed be black ice.
  • Wear the proper footwear and avoid soles that are smooth or have a heel. Invest in a good pair of boots with good grips.
  • During the winter months there is a way to walk so you stay balanced and upright on slick surfaces. In short, walk like a penguin.
    • Point your feet slightly.
    • Walk flat-footed and shuffle.
    • Bend slightly and keep your center of gravity over your feet.
    • Extend your arms for balance.
  • Take advantage of well-used paths and sidewalks and avoid shortcuts or walks that haven’t been shoveled. Veer to the grassy edge for traction, if necessary.
  • Finally, getting in and out of your vehicle can be just as hard as walking on a slick surface. Don’t be afraid to use it for support.

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