Imagine a man looking up at a hospital ceiling, thinking about why he is now in need of a doctor. What could he have done to avoid slipping on ice and falling, he thinks, remembering his late wife who used to remind him to take care of himself, especially during the winter. She used to force him to buy salt to spread on the porch so that nobody would slip on the staircase. He used to resist buying the coarse salt, not realizing how important it was to prevent ice from accumulating. He always thought shovelling off the snow had been enough to prevent accidents. But he did not salt his porch after the latest snowfall and slipped and hurt his back as a result.
Officially, it is still fall in Thompson, with the first day of winter still a few weeks away. But our driveways, roads, sidewalks and lawns are all covered by beautiful white snow and we need to take steps to protect ourself from winter injuries.
After the snow starts falling, the first thing we should do is put winter tires on our vehicles for better traction. Even though it is expensive to pay for snow tires, it is a good investment. If we sacrifice our cravings to purchase unnecessary gadgets, we can easily save about $1,000 for a set of snow tires, which usually last a couple of winters if they are well maintained. It is worth spending the money on these tires to protect ourselves, other drivers and also pedestrians.
Other than the snow tires, we should also purchase coarse salt for our porches. It is always recommended to sprinkle some salt after cleaning the porch as the salt melts the ice and makes it safer for everyone. Mail carriers climbing the stairs to put letters in the mailbox may hurt themselves if the steps are icy. We should think not only ourselves but everyone else who comes to our door.
Here in Thompson, north of the 55th parallel, we get colder and snowier weather than Winnipeg or other southern Manitoba cities, so we should make sure we’re prepared so that we can stay safe and healthy while enjoying the winter.
I will write more on how to keep ourselves healthy in this column in coming weeks. Stay warm and safe throughout this nice cozy winter!
Since completing a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Foyez Haque worked in northern and southern Ontario as an epidemiologist for more than a decade. During his tenure with several health units in Canada, he was involved in numerous public health research activities including publications in peer-reviewed journals. Currently, he is employed with the Northern Health Region as a planning and decision support analyst.