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Upstate Trauma Center issues winter safety alert

Upstate Trauma Center issues winter safety alert

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- With the frigid temperatures, plentiful snow and the holiday season upon us, the Upstate Trauma Center is issuing a winter safety alert.

“Tis the season for mishaps that can have significant health consequences,” said Jolene Kittle, MS, a critical care nurse and trauma program manager for Upstate University Hospital.  “Please be careful and be mindful of the risks when enjoying the winter weather.”

Upstate saw 193 trauma admissions last December or about 6 patients a day that needed trauma care.

For the most recent winter (December 2015 to March 2016), trauma admissions totaled 750, up 12 percent over winter 2015 (December 2014 to March 2015).

Among those admitted were people hurt in snowmobile accidents. Kittle said snowmobile accidents might cause significant injuries, including loss of life, if proper precautions are not taken.

“Always wear a helmet, travel at a safe speed, know the route you are traveling and above all do not mix alcohol and snowmobiling; that is a recipe for danger,” Kittle said.

While not required by law, Kittle recommends wearing a helmet when skiing, snowboarding or sledding to prevent potential head injuries or to lessen the severity of head injury from falls.

Falling is another reason for significant injury in winter weather.  Kittle said do not walk on icy areas and make sure that you are wearing proper footwear that can grip snow and ensure a steady walk.

If sidewalks are unshoveled, use extreme caution walking in the street. Wear reflective clothing and pay attention--no texting and walking.

Practice safety when using snow blowers. Never reach into the area where the blade is at anytime.

Another opportunity for significant injury is climbing on the roof to remove snow or ice build up. Let snow removal professionals do this task, if necessary.

The brutal cold can also cause serious harm to one’s health. To protect against frostbite, Kittle recommends dressing in layers, keep clothing dry, wear a hat that covers head and ears, insulated gloves or mittens and waterproof boots with wool socks.

“We have some beautiful areas in Central New York for doing most any winter activity, Kittle said. “Let’s make sure you stay safe to enjoy these activities for the entire season.”

The Upstate Trauma Center is the region’s only Level 1 Trauma center.  It provides 24-hour in-house coverage by general surgeons, and prompt availability of care in specialties such as orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, internal medicine, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial, pediatric and critical care, and serves as a referral resource for nearby communities.