SIOUX FALLS, SD
From your driveway, to your parking lot at work, ice is everywhere. And the elements are making KELOLAND emergency rooms very busy.
"We have been seeing a lot of falls for the past two days, today and yesterday. Lots of people with slip and falls from their driveway or church," Sanford Emergency Room Doctor Leighton Singh said.
Doctors say age can play a role in the injuries you receive because it can even make a difference in whether you even hit the ground.
"If you are older, you are not going to have the same quick reflexes that younger people have and you are going to need to make sure you are using railings when you are moving from one spot to the other," Singh said.
What may seem like a simple slip on the ice could land you in the hospital with a fractured wrist, or worse yet, on the operating table with a broken hip. But if you don't take the time to get those falls fixed, you could set yourself up for long-term problems.
"If you don't get it treated, it can lead to a number of problems like deformity use of the extremity and chronic arthritis problems as well," Singh said.
Singh's best advice for anyone venturing into the cold may seem obvious, but he says it's what can make all the difference.
"It's just going to be caution, taking your time moving from one place to the other. Use railings when they are available and just be careful," Singh said.
Singh says through all his years in the ER, ice falls are an accident that will never go away as long as there is ice on the ground.
"I think regardless, we are always going to see problems with accidents and falls. All you can do is take precautionary measures," Singh said.
All of the beds in the Sanford ER were full Sunday; a number of them had people who had fallen on the ice.
When walking on ice or in slippery conditions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration suggest wearing insulated boots with rubber treads.
You should also take short steps and walk at a slower pace to help you react more quickly and stay upright if you do slip
If you're walking on a sidewalk that hasn't been cleared, try walking on the street as close to the curb as you can because the street has likely been treated.