Skip to main content

Lesson Learned From Frigid Temperatures and Winter Weather

There is no time like the present to reflect lessons learned from frigid temperatures and winter weather.

Our emergency physicians have treated more than 240 patients with winter weather-related injuries – including falls, motor vehicle accidents, sledding accidents and traumas – since Feb. 16.

By and large, falls are the number one injury we see in our Emergency Departments during winter weather.   However, frostbite and hypothermia have also been very real concerns during this record-setting cold.   We’ve treated six patients for cold exposure (hypothermia, frostbite, etc.) over the past four days.  We’ve also treated injuries from three separate sledding accidents.

Arctic air and days of lingering snow and ice are not common occurrences in the Triangle, but never underestimate their impact on your health and safety. A few lessons learned from this week’s winter storm:

  • Be sure to check on your elderly neighbors, friends and loved ones during cold spells and make sure they are adequately protected. We all need to take special precautions to ensure the health and safety of the community.
  • Be careful in winter weather. Take your time, wear appropriate shoes or boots, use handrails when available, and remove or clean your shoes when you get back inside.
  • Be prepared for inclement weather – both at home and on the road. (Car checklist: Booster cables, ice scrapers, first aid and tool kits, flashlights, batteries, blankets, bottled water and even a sack of sand or kitty litter (for generating traction in snow/ice)
  • Sledding accidents: Sleds can be great fun, but they can also be extremely dangerous. Always sit face-forward and choose a hill that has a manageable slope with a long steep path that is free of jumps, bumps, and obstacles like trees, fences or mailboxes. And, wear a helmet!