July 16th, 2019

To Your Health: Have grit, check your treads this winter

By Gillian Slade on January 7, 2019.

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Even if the sidewalk has been cleared it may be dangerous to walk on. Keep grit handy and check your shoes for maximum safety.

News of someone in their 60s falling on ice in Calgary and subsequently dying created some shockwaves this week.

The individual apparently hit his head on the ice.

About 40 per cent of overall traumas that are seen in emergency rooms are related to falls.

Even though we are currently enjoying exceptionally mild weather, for this time of year, we will inevitably experience colder spells along with ice in the coming weeks and months.

It is positively terrifying to park your vehicle and then realize the area where you need to step out of your vehicle is a sheet of ice. I make a point of having a small bag of grit in my vehicle so that I can spread a little where I need to walk, when there is no alternative.

When you have to walk down the road to collect your mail and the sidewalk is clearly icy it is handy to have a small bag of grit at your door to help you make it there and back safely.

It can be difficult to find boots that provide a good grip on ice. A test in Ontario determined 98 per cent of boots did not provide enough traction on ice.

If you are shopping for boots a good tread is important and if the sole incorporates grit it is even better apparently, according to media reports. Some of the best rated soles actually looked fairly smooth but on closer inspection, under a microscope, you could see little crampons.

Take a look at the Rate My Treads website — ratemytreads.com — for more information about boots that have been tested.

We don’t only slip on ice though; many falls take place in the home and some could have been prevented.

The older we are the more devastating that fall can be. A fracture can literally change your life even if you recover from a fracture. Please think again before standing on a stool, chair or table to reach a high cupboard. A step-ladder is better and look for one with a place for you to put your hands to facilitate balance.

Young people are exercising their balance skills continually in an active lifestyle. The older we get, especially if we have not remained physically active for various reasons, there is a greater chance of us being unsteady as we stand on that little stool or step-ladder.

Walking up stairs can be good to practise balance especially when it is too icy to go out of doors for a walk. You could climb the stairs in your home numerous times or use a little step ladder for the same purpose.

Here’s to keeping safe in icy weather and here’s To Your Health.

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her at gslade@medicinehatnews.com or 403-528-8635.

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