(Patch) Some of the most common injuries that occur in winter are related to weather conditions and seasonal activities. In order to avoid any accidents, remember some of the following safety precautions:
- Burn Candles Safely on stable surfaces and away from flammable decorations. On average, candles cause 1,200 household fires in the U.S. throughout November and December. Consider using a battery powered LED candle instead.
- Decorate with Caution when hanging lights, lifting heavy items or moving furniture. Getting a hand from loved ones and using proper ladders can also help avoid unexpected strains and falls.
- Dress in Layers and be sure to cover the neck and face in windy conditions to avoid direct inhalation of cold air that can constrict arteries and decrease the heart’s oxygen supply.
- Drink Responsibly to avoid alcohol-induced accidents and injury.
- Drive Carefully and be cautious of other drivers and black ice patches on the road.
- Shovel Safely by keeping in mind the proper techniques and immediately stopping if there is any pain, discomfort, pressure or squeezing in the chest, stomach, arms or jaw. Check with your doctor first if you have any chronic health conditions.
- Watch for Choking Hazards whether it’s at a holiday potluck or with children and small toys.
- Watch Your Step in icy or cold conditions to avoid dangerous slips/falls on steps and pavement. Salt walkways and driveways regularly.
Recent data shows unnecessary emergency room visits account for approximately 50 percent of medical spending annually both nationally and in Michigan. Depending on the circumstances, families can save money, time and hassle by knowing when trips to the hospital are unnecessary. Some alternative choices for care, include:
- Online Visits: A study done by The Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare showed that thousands of patients can be treated without going to the emergency room through remote doctor consultations. Telemedicine, a subset of telehealth, refers to real-time clinical health care services provided through electronic technology when distance separates the patient and health care provider. Online visits, or E-Visits, involve real-time (synchronous) two-way communication that is initiated by the patient to virtually connect to a physician or other health care provider for low complexity health care services.
- Urgent Care Centers and Retail Health Clinics: Sprains, minor burns or allergic reactions can be addressed at an urgent care center in half the time of an emergency room. These walk-in facilities can be found across the country offer a wide range of care from certified medical staff at convenient hours throughout the week. And yes, some locations are even open 24 hours a day. Be sure to research urgent care centers within your health plan network to avoid unnecessary costs. Always make sure to share a copy of your urgent care visit records with your Primary Care Provider.
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