Winter came knocking early this year with our first snow in November. This early winter wonderland brought with it many joyful cries from children getting a “snow day” and adults grumbling about the traffic and snow plows. As we pull out our shovels, dust off our snow boots, and stock up on hot chocolate and marshmallows, it is important to remember that winter weather contributes to all sorts of injuries.
Snow, sleet and ice on the roads were involved in over half a million motor vehicle accidents, approximately 150,000 injuries, and almost 2000 deaths from 2002 to 2012. These same conditions also increase the risk for injuries due to slips and falls. Fractures of the forearm, wrist and hand are the most common injuries in a slip-and-fall scenario. Simple measures such as following the rules of the road and being cautious on roads and sidewalks during severe weather go a long way in avoiding collisions and missteps.
The cold itself can be a culprit. Frost-bite occurs when the skin and tissues deep in the skin become frozen. Fingers, toes, ears, nose, and exposed areas of skin are most commonly affected. Symptoms may include numbness, burning and color change in the affected area. In severe cases, the nerves, muscles, and bones can become involved and require amputation. Children should be appropriately dressed for the weather with multiple dry layers, mittens/gloves, warm boots and coverings for the head and ears.
At Cincinnati Children’s we want you and your family to stay safe this winter season. In the event of an injury, the Department of Radiology can offer a broad range of services including x-rays, ultrasound, CT, MRI and nuclear medicine scans. We provide care for your child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, rain or shine (or snow or sleet.) Our skilled staff includes nurses, technologists, and other clinical staff with experience in working with children. Our radiologists have additional knowledge and training in imaging pediatric patients as well as leading imaging research on various types of traumatic injuries. Cincinnati Children’s is designated as a level 1 trauma center, which means we’re able to handle the most severe traumatic injuries in children. Our expert radiology staff works as part of this team to ensure the very best care for your children should they need it.
Contributed by Dr. Michael Aquino and edited by Catherine Leopard (CCLSS).