By Pam Graber
For the Nevada Appeal
This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Q: What are some safety tips for walking on icy surfaces?
A: According to the National Safety Council, falling is the No. 1 home accident in the United States. Approximately 16,000 Americans die each year from falls. Additionally, safety experts claim that many injuries result from falls on ice-covered surfaces.
Here are some things you can do to reduce the risk of falling on slippery surfaces.
• Wear boots or overshoes with good tread. Avoid going out in shoes with smooth soles. Some people swear by the slip-on traction devices you can put onto your boots, or wearing metal cleat golf shoes.
• Walk consciously. Be alert to the possibility that you could quickly slip on a patch of unseen ice. Avoid the temptation to rush or run to catch a bus or make a traffic light.
• Walk cautiously. Arms help us balance, so keep hands out of pockets and avoid carrying heavy loads.
• Take short, shuffling steps when on ice. Long strides can get you into trouble. Walk as balanced and flatfooted as you can.
• Remove snow from your property before it becomes packed or turns to ice. Keep your stairs and walkways free of ice by applying snow-melt granules frequently.
Even though you do all you can to walk safely, slipping on the ice is sometimes unavoidable. Knowing how to fall reduces the risk of injury. Sandra Gimple, a 3rd degree black belt Karate instructor and professional stunt woman, teaches tuck-and-roll falling techniques. "The idea is to make yourself as small as possible by rolling up into a ball," says Gimple. She urges people to practice these techniques:
• Sit on the floor with your legs out flat in front of you. Simulate a backwards fall by slowly lying back toward the floor. Quickly, tuck your chin to your chest. At the same time, pull your knees to your chest and extend your arms away from your body, slapping the ground with your forearms and palms. This maneuver will help prevent your head, wrists and elbows from hitting the ground.
• Again, sit on the floor with your legs out. To practice a sideways fall, roll to one side or the other. As you do so, lay out your arm parallel to your body so that your forearm, and not your wrist or shoulder, is first to contact the floor. Also, lift your head toward the opposite shoulder from the way you are rolling. Practice some more but roll the other direction.
• To practice a front fall, assume a kneeling position. Begin to lean forward and as you fall, roll to one side, laying out your arm parallel to your body, again so the forearm and not your wrist makes contact with the floor. Lift your head to the opposite shoulder and continue to roll.
Following these guidelines won't turn you into a stunt person, but it could help protect you from serious injury this winter.
JANUARY IS NATIONAL RADON ACTION MONTH
Radon was found at elevated levels in 37 percent of Carson City homes tested. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Radon test kits are available at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office in Carson City. Address is 2621 Northgate Lane, Suite 15. Hours are 8 to 5, Monday through Friday.
Carson City Health and Human Services
Clinic Hours: Monday-Wednesday and Friday
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment call 775-887-2195
900 East Long St., Carson City
Men's Clinic is on Mondays from 4-6 p.m. Call for an appointment at 775-887-2195
Vaccination is the best defense against the flu: CCHHS offers flu injections or nasal mist for $10. No appointment is necessary.
Thursday is Immunization Day
8:30-11:30 a.m.; 1-4:30 p.m. No appointment needed
In neighboring California, confirmed cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, is now four times that of last year. Local health officials encourage Tdap boosters for any adult that is in close contact with an infant. Whooping cough boosters for adults and vaccine for infants is available at Carson City Health and Human Services.
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• Pam Graber writes for Carson City Health and Human Services. She can be reached at Pamgraber1950@gmail.com.