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Did you slip on the ice? Beacon clinicians explain when to seek care for ice-related falls, how to stay safe

Ice blankets a local driveway.

The best way to protect yourself and stay out of the emergency room or urgent care center from a painful fall on the ice? Take it slow if you are walking outside, our Beacon clinicians recommend, and assume there could be ice beneath your feet.

But even then, accidents happen.

Our Beacon emergency rooms and MedPoint and IMED urgent care centers on Monday afternoon started to see patients coming in with possible ice-related falls and injuries.

“Slips and falls on ice are extremely common and can result in significant injuries, especially in the elderly,” said Dr. Dennis Erdman, Beacon Health System emergency care physician. “Stay safe by assuming there is ice you can’t see.”

The most common injuries on the ice include head, neck, back and injuries to the extremities, including wrists and ankles. Extremity injuries often have swelling and can be evaluated at urgent care centers. But there are instances where you should visit the hospital emergency room, including:

  • Head injury with loss of consciousness or vomiting
  • Deformity of the bones
  • Severe pain that requires a controlled substance

Walking across the driveway, going to the mailbox and taking the garbage to the curb are some of the common places and highest-risk areas for falls and injuries on slippery surfaces, Dr. Erdman said. Someone who has difficulty performing these tasks during normal weather should find someone else to get their mail or take out their trash during these icy conditions to prevent injury.

“If you are unable to easily move the area you injured without pain, it’s important to seek help,” said Nicole Clarke, BSN, RN, Beacon’s director of Retail Operations. “We can help determine whether you have a bad bruise, a sprain or even a broken bone. Accidents happen, especially on the ice. We’re here to care for you.”

About Heidi Prescott

Passionate about writing her whole life, Heidi Prescott joined Beacon Health System in 2015 and currently serves as Senior Media Relations Strategist. A former newspaper journalist who has experience in TV, radio, magazines and social media, Heidi loves storytelling, photography and spending time in nature.