Island Health is urging people to use caution to avoid injury following heavy snowfall in recent days.
Snow-related injuries have led to emergency room visits at hospitals in Campbell River and the Comox Valley, said Island Health spokesperson Cheryl Bloxham in an email.
The health authority released a list of snow and ice safety tips on Tuesday.
“Island Health advises everyone, particularly seniors, to be extremely cautious when they venture outdoors in snowy and icy conditions, as they are especially at risk of suffering serious injuries from slips and falls,” the release says.
The health authority is also asking people to reduce pressure on hospitals by using emergency departments only in cases of urgent and acute medical issues,
“Emergency departments are busier than usual with slip and fall incidents, fractures and motor vehicle crash victims.”
Residents are also urged to avoid driving unless necessary to avoid vehicle crashes.
Other tips? Many are common sense, but it’s a good refresher for people not used to dealing with heavy snow.
When walking, ensure that footwear is well-fitting and suited to the weather. Keep your center of gravity over your feet, with hands out of pockets for balance. Pay attention to where you’re going and walk slowly, “penguin-style.”
Use handrails whenever possible, especially on stairs. If you can’t avoid walking on snow and ice, walk “where it’s crunchy, if you can.”
It’s easier to maintain your balance wearing a backpack than a purse. Heed the orders of health professionals about using a walking aid such as a cane or walker. And sprinkle sand or salt on the ground for traction.
And if you’re shoveling snow, take it easy. Pace yourself and be aware of the physical strain.
People are also urged to help seniors who can’t keep their sidewalks safe.