HSE warns Wicklow residents to be careful amid increase in ED attendance due to slipping on ice

The cold weather has brought icy conditions all around Ireland, and with it has come an increased risk of people hurting themselves on the slippery ice.

The HSE have warned people living in Wicklow to be careful as they walk in these icy conditions, as they have noted an increase in people attending emergency departments due to slipping, tripping, and falling on the ice.

According to Dr Colm Henry, HSE Chief Clinical Officer, During the cold snap we are inevitably seeing more people in our EDs with injuries from slips, trips, and falls. We have and continue to put a huge focus on reducing wait times for our patients, as this has been shown time and time again to ensure better outcomes for the most ill and vulnerable people arriving into an ED. Part of this effort includes giving advice on the most appropriate care options for people, thus cutting down on their wait time and pressures on the EDs.”

While minor injuries such as bruises, sprains, and strains can be looked after at home, the HSE are urging wicklow residents to contact their local medical facility if they experience considerable pain or swelling due to an injury on the ice. If this is the case, please consider visiting your local GP or Injury Unit before presenting to an Emergency Department.

The Injury Unit in St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, D18 E365 serves the County Wicklow area.

Martina Queally, Chief Officer, HSE Community Healthcare East, comments: “We are all at risk of injury by falling or slipping in wet and icy weather. Common injuries from simple falls include fractured or broken bones and head injuries. While both young and old can sustain an injury from slips or falls on ice, the impact on older people and people with mobility issues can be more profound. Aside from being painful, these types of injuries can also result in long periods of rehabilitation. 

It is worth being proactive and planning now how you will adapt to these icy conditions to keep yourself injury free. There are a number of preventative measures everyone can take to reduce the likelihood of falling in the short term such as wearing appropriate footwear, not looking at phones while walking, avoiding carrying heavy bags for better balance, and waiting until a little later in the day when the ice may have thawed before going out.”

Alison Wellwood, Falls Coordinator, HSE Community Healthcare East, adds: “The winter months can bring low temperatures, icy paths and fallen leaves, which can all increase the risk of a fall. An older person who may be unsteady on their feet is more at risk, however, many falls are preventable. You can reduce your risk of slips and falls by being mindful of your environment and making simple changes to improve your strength and balance”.

For more information on falls prevention check out our booklet “Take Control – Reduce your Risk of Falls” which is available to download by scanning the QR code or visiting https://bit.ly/CHEastFalls.

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