RICHMOND, Va. -- As Richmond braces for potentially more snow and ice and extremely cold temperatures, doctors are recommending you take precautions. Winter injuries land thousands of people in the Emergency Room each year. But there are things you can do to keep safe.
Injuries associated with falling are the most common this time of year. There are more than 10,000 emergency room visits each year associated with winter weather falls, according to Dr. Khaled Basiouny, the Trauma Medical Director at Chippenham Hospital.
Basiouny said children and the elderly were among the most susceptible to falling injuries.
"Those can range from a variety of injuries, from minor sprains to very serious lethal injuries such as traumatic brain injury," Dr. Basiouny said.
Car accidents are also a leading cause of injuries during winter months.
Nationwide there are some 400,000 crashes a year associated with snow and ice.
During December's snow storm, Virginia State Police responded to more than 1,000 snow-related crashes.
Winter activities such as sledding, ice skating, and skiing can also land people in the hospital this time of year.
Physicians recommend wearing proper safety equipment, such as a helmet, when participating in winter activities.
During the harsh winter months, exposure can also be extremely dangerous, especially for vulnerable populations that are outdoors for long periods of time. The homeless population is extremely susceptible to the risk of exposure.
"Fifteen degree weather can be lethal exposure if you're out for an extended period of time, especially if you get wet," Dr. Basiouny said.
Physicians recommend taking precautions this time of year, by dressing in layers, wearing proper shoes and staying dry.
If you have to be outside for an extended period of time to work or hunt, doctors also recommend being with another person at all times and stay hydrated.
Make sure you have all-weather tires for your car and keep a first aid kit and blanket inside your vehicle at all times.
If an accident does occur, physicians say take proper precautions and remain vigilant, even for simple falls.
"If you take a fall and someone presents with any symptoms like severe headaches, stroke-like symptoms or worse, that person needs to seek medical attention immediately," Dr. Basiouny said.
Working For Your Health is a partnership with HCA Healthcare. Serving the greater Richmond area, Chippenham, Henrico Doctors’, Johnston-Willis, Parham Doctors’, and Retreat Doctors’ Hospital are part of HCA Virginia. Watch for Working For Your Health reports Tuesdays on CBS 6 News at 7 p.m.