Winter in Ohio can be unpredictable. Snow, sleet and icy roads and walkways can make getting around not only inconvenient, but dangerous. Use these simple precautions to decrease your risk of falling:

  • Take it slow. Allow extra time to get places in the winter. If you don’t feel safe, ask for help.
  • When conditions are icy, walk with a buddy or carry a cell phone to call for help, if needed.
  • Watch for slippery surfaces ahead of you. Keep your head up and use your eyes to look down. Assume that surfaces that look slippery are, and find another way.
  • Keep rock salt (a chemical de-icing compound), sand and a shovel available near entrances. Consider keeping a small bag of sand or rock salt in your coat pocket.
  • Don’t try to walk in more than an inch of snow. Deeper accumulations can cause you to trip.
  • Bundle up to stay warm, but make sure you can see in all directions and move freely. Wear mittens or gloves to keep your hands out of your pockets and free to help with balance.
  • Wear appropriate footgear. Winter boots that fit well provide more traction than tennis or dress shoes.
  • Check that the rubber tips on canes and walkers are in good repair. Replace, if necessary.
  • Don’t let the cooler weather and shorter days limit your activity. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about indoor exercises.
  • Increase the lighting in your home with extra lamps and by using the highest-wattage bulbs recommended for your fixtures.
  • Keep space heaters, cords and blankets out of walkways. If you must use throw rugs on cold floors, secure them to the floor with tape.

This information is provided by the Ohio Department of Aging. For more information on snow shoveling tips, hypothermia and frostbite visit their winter safety public service page at: http://weathersafety.ohio.gov/WinterHealthSafetyTips.aspx.