SALT LAKE CITY — Winter weather signals the beginning of the holiday season, but it also means there will be an uptick in weather-related injuries—but the good news is that many are avoidable.
There are 25 percent more injured patients from motor vehicle crashes during the winter months, severely injured patients from falls on ice and snow, and up to 75 percent of skiers and snowboarders in the ER who weren't wearing a helmet when they crashed, say St. Mark's Hospital officials.
“Trauma is the leading cause of death and people up to the age of 45,” said Brittni Clark, ER Trauma Nurse Coordinator at St. Marks. "“My goal is to keep you safe. I don’t ever want to see anyone come through the ER with traumatic injuries, that’s not fun for anyone."
But there are ways to reduce these accidents.
“If you know a storm is coming make sure you get your snow shovel ready, your icemelt. And then once the snow falls, be sure to get that snow cleared as quick as possible because once it gets compacted that’s when it’s hard to remove, it turns to ice really quickly,” said Ryan Love with the United Fire Authority.
Make sure cars are "winter ready" with good tires inflated properly, and have jumper cables and a shovel to reduce the chance of being stranded in freezing conditions, say the Unified Police Canyon and Metro officers.
Those taking a trip up the canyons for winter fun should be prepared in case the canyons close with extra food, water, warm clothing, and medications.
Emergency rooms are there to help, but it's best to prevent the need for using them this winter.