Cleveland winter injuries are coming -- here's how you can avoid them

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Winter is rolling into Northeast Ohio and we are about to see our first extended period of cold, snow and ice.

And with the inclement weather comes a greater chance of being injured due to icy roads and snowy walkways.

Without question the most serious injuries of the winter season come on the roads.

Car accidents, due to poor road conditions or limited visibility, can result in life threatening injuries.

Car accidents may cause the most serious trips to the trauma center, but according to University Hospitals Emergency Room Dr. Sean Abraham, you are most likely to end up in triage because of a bad outdoor fall in wintry conditions.

"In terms of the number of injuries, probably slips and falls on the ice causing head injuries, broken bones and especially wrists and ankles," Dr. Abraham said.

In other words, slips and falls on the ice are the number one reason for an emergency room visit.

But when it gets really cold, University Hospitals will see plenty of people who, for one reason or another, just are not prepared for the cold.

"People can get frostbite fairly quickly, especially in moist environment, so the main thing is staying dry and having plenty of layers of clothing on," said Dr. Abraham.

And, you've probably heard the warning about shoveling snow, but Dr. Abraham says they only occasionally see people in the emergency room with heart trouble after shoveling  snow.

It comes down to knowing what your body can handle while shoveling.

"For somebody who is otherwise in good shape it's no more than the exertion itself and the cold exposure, so I'd encourage people to dress warm and if they feel extremely fatigued, or if they start having chest pain, then they definitely need to stop."

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