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Be careful in winter weather for A&E’s sake

At the start of winter, local NHS teams are reminding residents to take appropriate measures to ensure you stay safe and healthy. Slips, falls and road traffic accidents all become more likely during wet, cold and icy weather conditions.

Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer at Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “With the wintery weather comes the increased likelihood of an accident because of the conditions under foot either by slipping or falling. Older people, particularly, are more vulnerable to such accidents.

“Inadequate footwear certainly doesn’t help, nor does rushing around. By taking a few simple precautions you can easily decrease your likelihood of injury.”

Residents are encouraged to follow the tips below to ensure that they do not suffer a slip, fall or car accident as the winter weather hits.

• Spread sand or salt on icy surfaces on walkways, work areas, and steps
• Consider putting the activity off until conditions improve if the weather is really bad
• Keep steps and equipment clean and dry. Take the time to clean off mud, snow, and ice
• Wear shoes or boots with a flat, low heel, a slip-resistant sole to reduce slipping hazards and a good tread that helps to grip the surface
• Walk slowly and carefully
• Only drive when absolutely necessary and take care to drive slowly and carefully

If you are unlucky enough to take a tumble and suffer a sprain or a strain it is not always necessary to visit your GP or your A&E department.

Dr Phil Huxley, Chair at NHS East Lancashire CCG added: “We want people to stay well this winter but we realise slips and falls can be inevitable especially when conditions are icy. However, sprains and strains, if mild to moderate can be treated safely at home. By doing so you can help to make sure that our accident and emergency service is left for those people who need it.

“If you are unsure whether you need medical attention then in the first instance call NHS 111 for fast and free expert advice on what you should do. Your local pharmacy can also advise you on over the counter remedies to ease any slight pain, minor swelling or bruising.”

Medical attention should be sought for an injury suffered as a result of a slip, trip or fall if:

• The pain is particularly severe
• You are unable to move the injured joint or muscle
• You cannot put any weight on the injured limb, or it gives way when you try to
• The injured area looks misshaped or has unusual lumps or bumps (other than swelling)
• You have numbness, discolouration or coldness in any part of the injured area
• The symptoms have not started to improve within a few days of self-treating