Take care on the slippery streets, say Royal United Hospital staff
People are being urged to take extra care, and only venture outside if absolutely necessary.
The warning comes from consultants at the Royal United Hospital, who say injuries sustained during this weather push the emergency department to its limits.
Consultant in emergency medicine Doctor Clare Taylor said that although the snow is pretty to look at it can be deadly when it freezes and turns to ice.
She said: “I would advise people to stay inside unless it is absolutely necessary to go out.
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“The snow is beautiful, but when it melts and freezes it is deadly.
“It is invisible, and people are in big danger of falling over, even just venturing out to their garden to put the rubbish out.
“The main danger is people not wearing the right shoes, with enough grip to cope with the conditions.”
Dr Taylor said already today the emergency department had seen a number of fractures and snow related injuries.
She said: “Already today we have seen some fractures, and people who have injured themselves while sledging.
“The department has been very busy today, which is why we are urging people to take extra care.
“We don’t want to put even more strain on the department.”
Dr Taylor acknowledges that children want to go out and play in the snow, and is offering the following advice to parents:
“When taking children out sledging make sure they wear a helmet.
“It is vital that their head is protected, as injuries sustained falling off sledges are one of the most common we see.
“Also make sure children are wrapped up warm, with coats, gloves, hats and sensible footwear.
“Don’t stay out for too long, and mke sure when inside they are properly warmed up.”
The elderly are most at risk during this weather, and Dr Taylor urges everyone to look out for elderly relatives.
She said: “I am asking that everyone looks out for elderly neighbours and relatives as they are the ones who are most at risk.
“For an elderly person falling over on the ice can be a life changing experience.
“It is sad but once they have suffered a fracture the chance of them going back to the same level of independence is seriously reduced.”
Staff have made a big effort to get in, with many walking miles through the snow.
Dr Taylor said: “I want to thank every member of staff who made a big effort to get in.
“Without them the hospital would not be running as well as it it, and their efforts are much appreciated.”