Avoid Injuries and Frostbite this Winter

This post was written by Dr. Aditi Joshi, an ER physician and Medical Director of JeffConnect® . JeffConnect® On-Demand Video Visits ‘connect’  Jefferson emergency doctors to patients anytime  via phone, tablet or computer- to  treat a variety of minor illnesses, answer medical questions, and prescribe medications when appropriate.

Even though we’re experiencing some unseasonably warm weather, winter will undoubtedly rear its ugly head at some point. When we finally do have to navigate the cold, snow and ice, we wanted to remind you of some ways to stay safe this winter season.

Man with shovel cleaning snow filled backyard outside his house.

Shoveling Snow:

If you don’t have a snowblower and have to shovel away the snow, it’s important to do it safely to avoid back injury:

  • Make sure to warm up your muscles before starting – technically you are working out your muscles and warming them helps avoid injury.
  • ‘Lift with your legs’ – everyone knows that adage but what does it mean? It means face what you’re lifting squarely with your legs and torso toward it, bend at the hips not the low back, and lift with your leg muscles while keeping your back straight.
  • Do not lift overly heavy loads – shoveling smaller lighter amounts is less strenuous.
  • Use appropriate footwear and dress warmly; no need to get frostbite in the process.

Walking on slippery sidewalks and roads:

No one wants to fall and break any bones this winter. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Use appropriate footwear with tread and grip.
  • Step slowly and carefully.
  • Take your time – plan for a longer commute in icy and snowy conditions.
  • Look for salted areas and try to walk upon those areas; it will be less likely to be icy.


Frostbite occurs when skin is exposed to very cold temperatures and more common in parts that ‘stick out’ including feet, hands, nose, ears and lips. The longer the exposure and the colder the temperature, the worse the frostbite can be. The complications from frostbite can be serious, including surgery, gangrene and infections so avoiding it is key:

  • Wear warm clothing in cold temps; this includes hats, gloves, warm socks and shoes to avoid exposure.
  • Take shelter as soon as you can in warmer temperatures; avoid being outside longer than you need to.
  • If you have symptoms of numbness, white or blue discoloration, or blisters, get evaluated for frostbite.

We hope you have a healthy and safe winter season, but remember: JeffConnect® is always available if you need to talk to a doctor.

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