Alexis Lawrence, MD, is an assistant professor of emergency medicine, clinician educator, at the Warren Alpert Medical School. A Brown Emergency Medicine physician practicing at Rhode Island and Miriam hospitals, Lawrence is also the assistant medical director of the Emergency Department at Rhode Island Hospital.
Every year, emergency department doctors see predictable illnesses and injuries during the winter. While we are always there to provide care, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Slips and falls are very common as the weather turns icy. Take care to sand and salt your walkways to keep your family and neighbors safe. Wear warm, comfortable boots and shoes when you are trying to navigate
Snow removal presents challenges for many. Snow shoveling is hard work (and good exercise!), but can be overly strenuous for those not used to heavy exertion. If you develop chest pain or difficulty breathing while shoveling, please STOP and call your doctor, or go to the emergency department for evaluation.
Finally, snowblowers can often become blocked with ice or other debris. NEVER reach into a snowblower to try and dislodge something; hand and finger injuries are extremely common after these attempts.