Icy roads sends more people to the ER

Icy roads sends more people to the ER

Icy conditions are sending more people to the emergency room, UW hospital officials say. Emergency doctors treated 10-15 patients for fall related ice injuries Tuesday morning.

Whether you are walking or driving, slick roads are a problem. It can present dangers for people who work in the elements, like Dan Eckstein who has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 25 years.

“I’m getting up there in age and so now every step is an adventure during the winter,” he said.

Eckstein delivers mail on a 10 mile route every day. Every winter without fail, icy sidewalks and driveways cause a problem for the mailman. Last February, he had fell on an icy patch and hurt his shoulder. His injuries put him out of work for a month.

February, I fell very hard so the legs don’t take it like they used to , so I’m much more careful. Especially, like a day like today, I’m watching every step.” he said.

To make it safe for your mail man, Eckstein encourages residents to lay down salt or sand down on ice patches to help them get through their route without any injury.

Doctors say when temperatures fluctuate from above and below freezing, they are more likely to see more injuries. On average they treat 10-12 patients a day for ice related injuries. The most common injuries are a broken wrist, hips and blows to the head from falling.

“This is the time where it is actually more dangerous, where you have this wet, icy, slushy stuff that’s more slippery than just the dry ice that we are used to seeing in January,” UW health emergency medicine physician, Brian Patterson said.

During icy conditions both drivers and walkers are at risk. Carolyn Benforado walks her dog at least twice a day . While the slightly warmer winter temperatures are nice for walking the dog, she says watching your step can get tricky.

“Watching the dog, watching the traffic and watching the feet is pretty tricky. There is not always place to readjust if you lose your footing.” she said.

To keep your feet on the ground, Eckstein suggest taking it slow and staying aware of the conditions to prevent an impromptu trip to the emergency room. It’s advice, Benforado takes seriously every time she takes a walk in the neighborhood.

“When possible, I’m always looking ahead. Trying to look at the path ahead to see if I can get around it. Or, as I told my children, walk like a penguin keep your center of gravity low and take it easy,” Benforado said.