Tips for handling winter scrapes and bruises

The winter can be a dangerous season for a number of reasons—unpredictable driving conditions, icy roads to walk, frigid temps causing numbness and frostbite, and snow shoveling is known to cause back pain injuries.

But some things people should consider more closely are the everyday bumps and scrapes that can occur without even knowing it. Because of cold temperatures and numb skin, it's important to pay extra close attention to what you may brush up against when outdoors, in case you accidentally cut yourself.

In fact, you could unknowingly be putting your body at risk while taking part in fun winter activities—like engaging in snowball fights, ice-skating, sledding, and even taking down holiday decorations.

A few common (and not-so-common) causes of winter scrapes

Winter cuts and scrapes can come from anywhere. Even the most enjoyable moments of your season:

  • Holiday tree needles, branches, and prickly evergreen wreaths scrape your skin when putting them up (and more likely, when you take them down and throw them out.)
  • Splinters from chopping and handling firewood.
  • De-icing your windshield with a scraper.
  • Chapped hands rubbing against rough surfaces.

And this isn't just about doing work. Whether it's you or your kids, there are sharp, abrasive things everywhere you look:

  • The rails of a sled.
  • The blades of your recently sharpened ice skates.
  • Falling while playing ice hockey.
  • If you're lucky, crashing into others while sledding will probably cause a few bumps and bruises—big crashes could put you in the emergency room—yikes!

How to prepare for winter mishaps

1. Have a First Aid kit at home, in your car, and in your travel bag. Ideally, it would be packed with a saline solution, bandages, gauze, and even skin closure packs to help a cut stick together and heal.

2. Be extra careful when dealing with cuts and scrapes if you've had a cold or the flu lately. Being sick could slow down the body's healing process, and of course, you want to make sure nothing nasty comes in contact with the wound.

5. If your hands are cracked and bleeding due to dry skin, make sure you're applying lotion after you wash them, and limiting showers to 10 minutes with warm water so you don't cause dry them out even more.


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