Covid Scotland: Lanarkshire hospitals experience ‘huge surge’ of ice-related injuries
Hospitals across Scotland are experiencing a “huge surge” of patients requiring x-rays and treatment following slips and falls.
Days of freezing weather have led to an increase in admissions of patients with ice-related injuries.
Doctors in Lanarkshire, where there have been more than 600 such admissions since Hogmanay, are now asking everyone to be extra careful as the snow and icy weather continues to affect roads and pavements across the area.
Dr Calvin Lightbody, consultant in emergency medicine at University Hospital Hairmyres (UHH) has seen the affect the icy weather is having on the number of people turning up to emergency departments across Lanarkshire with more than 30 per cent of attendances on Monday 4 January being a result of slips and falls.
With the forecast for snow and ice expected to continue for another few days, Dr Lightbody is reminding people that they should be staying at home but if anyone has to leave their homes for shopping or work to be extremely careful and cautious.
Dr Lightbody said: “We are experiencing a significant increase in attendances at our emergency departments across Lanarkshire with people who have sustained an injury as a result of slips due to the icy conditions.
“If anyone has to go out please wear sensible footwear and warm clothes suitable for this type of weather. If anyone does have a fall or slip the majority of sprains or strains can be treated safely at home.
“Local pharmacies can also advise on over the counter remedies to ease any slight pain, minor swelling or bruising.
He also asked that parents ensure the safety of their children when doing activities in the snow or skating on frozen ponds – as these activities can pose their own
“However, anyone worried or unsure if they need medical attention can visit the NHS Inform website in the first instance which offers a wealth of information on treating moderate sprains and strains. Alternatively, you can ring NHS 24 on 111 who are available 24 hours a day and will provide advice on the best healthcare service for your symptoms.
“By doing this, it will help ensure that we have the capacity within our hospitals to deal with patients who need emergency care.”
Meanwhile, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has also warned communities across Scotland to stay clear of frozen water as temperatures drop.
The national service is urging the public to be aware of the risks of going onto or allowing children and pets to go onto the ice.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, more than 50 per cent of all drowning cases involving ice in the UK involved the attempted rescue of another person or a pet.
And SFRS is warning that while ice can look and feel solid, it can suddenly crack and cause a person to fall through and potentially become trapped under the ice.
DACO Alasdair Perry, SFRS’ Head of Prevention and Protection, said: “We would ask everyone to be aware of the dangers of ice during this cold snap and strongly advise against walking or playing on any iced-up waterways and always ensure that children are kept away from any iced over ponds or rivers.
“If you are out with your pet, do not throw sticks or balls near frozen water, and if they do get into trouble on the ice, do not venture onto the ice yourself to attempt a rescue – dial 999.
“The ice may look solid, but it is not worth the risk to step out on to it.”
The low temperature of the water can also bring on cold-water shock, which can be potentially deadly.
Cold-water shock can cause breathing difficulties, blood vessels to close, the heart-rate to increase and lead to a heart attack.
Michael Avril is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Regional Water Safety Lead for Scotland.
He said: “Walking on ice is extremely risky and unpredictable and the RNLI advise that you avoid doing this. If you do fall through, the freezing water temperatures can bring on cold water shock.
“If you find yourself or someone else in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the fire service immediately. Do not attempt to rescue anyone yourself.”