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Be careful to prevent falls in winter


Long winters in northern Minnesota can be a contributing factor for deaths resulting from a fall. Risk factors experienced while navigating in winter are: improper personal attire, rapid weather changes, physical and mental health, and automobile issues.

Step up prevention of winter falls:

  • Wear rubber soled footwear to maintain traction. Add ice grippers to shoes and boots.

  • Practice walking in winter footwear. For example, use the “penguin walk” with a slower gait.

  • Wear gloves, hat and warm, comfortable clothing that covers skin surfaces.

  • Carry a cell phone and/or medical alert device.

  • Clear walkways and driveways.

  • Stay in well-lit areas. Pay attention to changing surface conditions. Avoid hurrying.

  • Start a buddy system that lets someone know when venturing outdoors.

  • Carry a winter emergency car kit; include a blanket, water, gloves, boots, flashlight and batteries, a candle and water-proof matches, and a cell phone charging cable.

  • Include winter vehicle gear: jumper cables, a shovel, a container of ice melt or sand; an ice-scraper/snowbrush; and road flares.

Conditions such as diabetes and poor circulation can contribute to a decline in sensations in the feet and affect balance. Cold weather increases risk for falls when experiencing medical issues. Being warmly dressed, wearing proper footwear, having an emergency kit, and being aware of changing weather conditions are of utmost importance if it is necessary to venture outdoors.
Use these helpful tips to prepare for winter weather. Go to the Cass County Live Healthy website for informative articles and videos on year-round falls prevention. Play Falls Prevention Bingo online. Receive a free sand shaker and be entered into the falls prevention grand prize drawing.

Completed game cards are to be returned by Sept. 25 to: HHVS at 400 South Michigan Ave., Walker MN 56484, attention Simon; or participate online and return to casscountyfallsprevention@gmail.com. Visit the Cass County website at www.co.cass.mn.us/livehealthy/falls_prevention.php.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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