Even Cold Weather Can Be Dangerous
February 1, 2019
There are plenty of fun things to do in the snow with your family, friends, and other loved ones – but it is also important to remember that the cold can actually be dangerous, and that it is necessary to take precautions. Even something as simple as shoveling after a snowfall can result in serious health complications, like heart problems or a heart attack. To safely get through the remainder of this winter season, we have compiled some helpful safety tips and general information below.
How can the Cold be Dangerous?
There is a variety of ways that cold temperature can affect a person’s overall health – and there are also many different reasons behind it. Here are a few reasons people are prone to getting sick or injured during the winter season:
- Our bodies ramp up genetic responses to inflammation, which means some individuals experience general swelling and moderate-to-severe joint pain;
- When a person travels between cold and warm, dry temperatures (e.g. coming into a heated home or apartment from outside) germs are thought to spread more easily – this is because of a lack of moving air inside combined with dry heat;
- Scientists theorize that certain viruses – like the flu virus – become “tougher” in the winter because their shells harden in the cold temperatures; this allows them to be transmitted more easily, and:
- Overexertion and slips and falls: rainy, icy, and cold conditions result in thousands of injuries per year (more than 11,500, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, or AJEM)
It is important to go to a doctor if you think you or a loved one are getting sick. One of the best and most effective ways to prevent transmitting illnesses and viruses is to consult with a healthcare professional, and take medicine as – or if – directed.
Snow Shoveling Safety
It may be surprising that shoveling snow results in so many injuries – and even several deaths. Some of the most common health hazards associated with shoveling snow include:
- Muscle, ligament, tendon, and other soft tissue injuries;
- Head injuries;
- Deadly heart problems, and:
- Back problems
For people who are already high risk for cardiac issues, cold temperatures can increase existing dangers. According to the study in the AJEM, every death related to snow shoveling that the researchers examined was caused by heart problems – and people who are 55-years-old and above are more than four-times as likely to suffer heart complications associated with shoveling than younger individuals.
The AJEM’s study also found that men and children are at high risk for shoveling-related injuries. Children are most likely to experience head injuries. To avoid kids getting hurt, safety advocates recommend parents and caregivers explain that shovels are not toys, and that they can be dangerous. Limiting horseplay and stressing safety are both effective ways to prevent injuries, particularly in younger children and teens.
Sometimes it is impossible to avoid getting hurt or sick when it’s cold outside. That said, some injuries and sicknesses are entirely preventable. When someone gets sick or injured because a renter, owner, landlord, or property manager failed to adequately and safely maintain a property – or because of safety failures in the workplace (e.g. unmarked wet floors) – the injured party may be able to seek compensation for damages. To ignore and fail to protect against known winter hazards cannot only be negligent, but also it puts people in danger. To learn more about filing a claim or to ask questions about what party may be responsible for your illness or injury, please contact our firm directly and someone would be happy to help.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Injured Individuals Since 1947
If you have questions about becoming ill or being injured, please contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.