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Urgent Care Centers

Winter Safety Tips

Winter weather can pose unique problems due to cold, snow, and ice, so it can be challenging to stay healthy this time of year. Here are the obstacles you are most likely to face, and the best way to overcome them so you and your family stays safe!

  • Hypothermia and Frostbite: Freezing weather can present issues with hypothermia and frostbite, so it is important to dress in layers, wear gloves or mittens, and a hat. Body heat is quickly lost from a head that is not covered. Keep in mind that frostbite can occur within 10 minutes if skin is exposed to sub-zero temperatures. Drinking alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, which can make you feel temporarily warmer, but causes you to lose body heat more quickly.
  • Snow Activities: If we do get snow, there are several things to keep in mind. First, if sledding, it’s important to pick a course that is obstacle-free. Head injuries can happen when sledding, so a helmet is your best protection. It is safest to sit facing forward, with feet first, and to use a sled with runners that has a steering mechanism. If your sled can’t be stopped, your best bet is to roll off rather than collide with another object.
  • Snow Shoveling: If you have known heart disease, it is best to get your physician's clearance prior to attempting to shovel snow. Shoveling is strenuous work that can lead to increased strain on your heart. Avoid overexerting yourself and take frequent breaks. If you do experience chest pain, shortness of breath, become nauseous, or feel faint, stop immediately and call 911.
    • Strains: To help prevent back injuries, do some stretching prior to shoveling. Only shovel powdery snow, as it is lighter. For heavy snow, it’s best to just push it out of the way. If you do attempt to lift when shoveling, use a smaller shovel or only partially fill it. Try to lift with your legs, and not your back.
  • Slips and Falls: If you do have a slip or fall, keep in mind that St. Luke's Urgent Care Centers are well equipped to evaluate and treat injuries. All our Urgent Care Centers are equipped with X-ray services which are read by a staff Radiologist at St. Luke's Hospital, usually within 20 minutes. Our providers can handle cuts and scrapes and are also well-versed in caring for patients with back pain.
  • Sickness: In addition to the injuries winter weather poses, we also see a marked increase in respiratory problems. All our Urgent Care Centers offer rapid testing for flu, COVID-19, RSV, and strep throat, with results in as little as 15 minutes. If there is a concern about pneumonia, chest X-rays are read by a staff Radiologist at St. Luke's Hospital, usually within 20 minutes.
St. Luke’s Urgent Care Centers are here for you if winter’s hazards happen. No appointment is necessary, and we are open seven days a week, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., with 8 convenient locations. Call 314-205-6200 or click here to find an Urgent Care Center near you.