Thank goodness spring is here! No more ice and snow. No more worrying about slipping and falling when you go outside. Right? Unfortunately, not. Spring and summer weather present many new falls hazards that people should be aware of and prepared for.
Thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning and flooding are a part of Ohio springs and summers and are what we think of when we consider severe weather. However, less severe and changing weather conditions can cause additional hazards to bloom and increase your risk of falling. Here are some tips to keep the spring in your step and avoid slipping and tripping:
- Avoid walking on muddy surfaces. Whether wet or dry, indoors or outdoors, mud can be as slippery – or even worse – than ice and snow.
- Clean mud off of shoes and walking aids regularly. Dry your shoes and cane or walker tips immediately upon coming in from the rain.
- You know the cycle of freezing and thawing can cause potholes for form on roads, but it can also cause sidewalks and other walkways to crack, shift or lift, creating tripping hazards.
- Use extra caution walking in windy and gusty conditions. Sustained winds can affect how you walk, making it easy for gusts and lulls to knock you off balance.
- Never walk in flood waters. Still waters can make you trip and just a few inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Now that nicer weather is here, you are likely to be more active. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about strategies to safely increase your activity level.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommends that you keep an emergency kit on hand in case of a weather emergency. Some items to include are a battery-operated flashlight and radio; an emergency evacuation plan; a list of important personal information and a first aid kit. Learn what should be in yours.
For a variety of reasons, older adults may have a harder time adjusting to extreme weather conditions than younger people do. If severe weather is forecasted or has just occurred, check in on older friends and family members to ensure that they are okay and that they have the resources they need to stay safe and healthy.
Visit our website for more tips and resources to prevent falls.