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Posts Tagged ‘Ice’

Ice. By Our December Student Pharmacist, Marie Corbo, Who Now Feels Very Cold.

The first day of winter was officially December 21st. This has been a particularly icy December, so I thought it would be a good idea to talk about de-icing. This is an important concept for people interested in preventing falls and emergency room visits.

Falls on icy days can be prevented by proper footwear, de-icing pathways, walking very slowly, and drying shoes well enough to prevent accidents.

Proper footwear can prevent slipping. On the bottom of winter boots, there should be a non-slip surface to reduce the amount of friction. It is also wise to avoid shoes with a heel.

De-icing pathways will help clear the footpath, but remember to be careful! Pushing a snow blower, shoveling, salting, and cold temperatures can put extra work on your heart and increase your blood pressure. It would be a good idea to warm up your muscles before starting, shovel many light loads instead of fewer heavy ones, take breaks, and always stay hydrated.

If you think you are experiencing any sign of a heart attack, stop and call 911 or your local emergency number.

Signs of a heart attack include but are not limited to:

1. A squeezing pain in the chest

2. Shortness of breath

3. Pain that radiates up to the left shoulder and down the left arm

4. Cold sweats

5. Jaw pain

6. Lower back pain

7. Unexplained fatigue or nausea

8. Anxiety

If you have a prescription for sublingual nitroglycerin, it is always a good idea to check to make sure it has not expired. Make sure that when you are shoveling, you have someone standing by in case there is an accident.

It is also always a good idea to take it slow when it’s icy. Take small and slow steps. Limit the things you may have to carry, which can alter your ability to balance. If you are on medications termed “blood thinners” like warfarin or coumadin, you should be extra careful to prevent a fall on the ice. Once you start bleeding, it is hard to stop when your blood is thin from the medication. If you know someone on these medications make sure to warn them about taking extra precautions to avoid falling.

Once you’ve made your way back inside, take a few seconds to wipe the snow off your shoes. Puddles in the house increase fall risks. Any salt stuck on your shoe may damage the floors, as well.

Lastly, as marvelous as dangling icicles appear, they can be extremely dangerous.  Do not attempt to knock them down without the proper equipment and precaution. The ice is heavy and sharp!