Slip and trip accidents increase during the autumn and winter season according to the Health and Safety Executive and this is due to a number of reasons: less daylight, leaves falling onto paths and becoming wet and slippery and cold weather spells causing ice and snow to build up on paths.
Last year during the months of November 16 and February 17, 650 people attended our Emergency Departments at Furness General Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary with ankle injuries after a slip or fall.
If you have had a slip, trip or fall you should seek medical attention if:
- The pain is particularly severe
- You are unable to move the injured joint or muscle
- You cannot put any weight on the injured limb, or it gives way when you try to
- The injured area looks misshaped or has unusual lumps or bumps (other than swelling)
- You have numbness, discoloration or coldness in any part of the injured area
- The symptoms have not started to improve within a few days of self-treating.
Laurel White, Service Manager, for ED at the RLI, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, said: “If you suffer a sprain or strain it is not always necessary to visit your GP or A&E department. Sprains and strains, if mild to moderate can be treated safely at home and by doing so you will help to make sure our ED departments are left for those people who most need it.”
There are ways you can prevent suffering a slip, trip or fall as the winter weather hits.
- Spread sand or salt on icy surfaces on walkways, work areas and steps
- Consider putting the activity off until conditions improve if the weather is really bad
- Keep steps and equipment clean and dry. Take the time to clean off mud, snow and ice
- Wear shoes or boots with a flat, low heel, a slip-resistant sole to reduce slipping hazards and good treat that helps grip the surface
- Walk slowly and carefully.
David Walker, Medical Director, UHMBT, said: “If you are unsure whether you need medical attention call NHS 111 for fast and free expert advice. Your local pharmacy can also advise you on over the counter remedies to ease any slight pain, minor swelling or bruising.”
Over the coming months we will be releasing winter messages on a variety of conditions such as flu and mental health to advise people how they can best treat their symptoms. This week we were are looking at slips and falls.
You can follow our winter messages on the Trust’s Twitter and Facebook pages and our Bay Health & Care Partners messages @BCTMorecambeBay
For more information on the range of NHS services available to you, visit www.WhyAandE.nhs.uk