When ice-covered ground comes between you and your destination, look to the penguin.
Cathy Pieroni, nurse practitioner with Community Care Network, advises people to model the flightless bird’s gait to avoid slipping on ice.
“Walk like a penguin,” she said. “Shuffle. Take short steps.”
Pieroni, who works at South Valpo Immediate Care, 1451 W. Morthland Drive, Valparaiso, said many winter-related injuries occur when people try to catch themselves to avoid a fall. They often land on a wrist, elbow or knee. Prevention is key.
“Assume every surface is slippery, and hold on to anything you can,” she said.
Proper footwear is essential.
“Boots are important,” she said. “You have to have something with traction.”
When getting out of a vehicle, make sure both feet are on the ground before standing up. Hold on to the door as another point of balance. If you can, walk on grass instead of a slick driveway.
When carrying groceries or other shopping bags inside your house, make multiple slow trips instead of overloading yourself and hauling every bag at once.
Pieroni cautioned against leaving wet boots to dry in areas with heavy foot traffic. Otherwise, people could slip and fall on a puddle of melted snow.
If you do fall, head to South Valpo Immediate Care or one of four other Community Healthcare System Immediate Care locations. The healthcare workers are equipped with technology to evaluate the injury, take X-rays if needed, apply splints and knee braces, suture and make direct orthopedic referrals.
A visit to the Immediate Care Centers of Community Healthcare System helps speed healing time by providing a priority referral to specialist care for acute orthopedic services.
Community Healthcare System can serve you at the following five Immediate Care locations:
· Community Immediate Care Munster, 1946 45th St., Munster; open 8 am-8 pm M-F and 8 am-4:30 pm Sat. & Sun.; 219-703-2420
· Community Hospital Outpatient Center Schererville, 7651 Harvest Dr., Schererville; open 8 am-8 pm M-F and 8 am-4:30 pm Sat. & Sun.; 219-322-5723
· Community Hospital Outpatient Center St. John, 9660 Wicker Ave., St. John; open 8 am-8 pm M-Sat. and 8 am-4:30 pm Sun.; 219-365-1177
· South Valpo Immediate Care, 1451 W. Morthland Dr., Valparaiso; open 8 am-8 pm M-F and 8 am-5 pm Sat. and Sun.; 219-286-3880
· Valparaiso Health Center of St. Mary Medical Center, 3800 St. Mary Dr., Valparaiso; open 8 am-8 pm M-Sat and 8 am-5 pm Sundays; 219-286-3707
For more information about the services offered through Community Healthcare System, visit COMHS.org.