More people are landing in ER this year due to winter weather

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) — As the winter snow and ice continues, more and more people are finding themselves in the emergency room because of it.

The late winter hitting eastern Iowa almost feels like a broken record. People keep digging their homes out of snow, just to get buried again.

“It’s just been a lot of snow. I feel like every time the snow melts it comes back. It’s a lot of shoveling over and over again,” one Iowa City man said as he shoveled his sidewalk.

But that broken record sounds much better than the broken bones the emergency room at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has been seeing. It reports it has been extra busy this last month, more specifically the last week.

“There’s been a significant impact on the patient population,” Dr. Azeem Ahmed said. “Every winter we have seasonal falls and accidents, etc. but this year has been particularly harsh.”

Dr. Ahmed, a clinical professor of emergency medicine, said they’re easily seeing 15-20 more patients a day due to weather-related injuries.

“It may have been a car accident, or a fall or some medical condition that has been worsened by the winter condition,” Dr. Ahmed said.

More than 130 people made a trip to the UIHC ER last week after falling, Dr. Ahmed said.

“With falls, we’ve seen people that have had broken legs, broken arms. We’ve had patients that had suffered from pretty significant head injuries,” he said.

For some, this winter may seem never-ending. Dr. Ahmed said that could be a reason why they’re seeing more people with injuries.

“I also feel like people are getting stir crazy or cabin fever,” he said. “They’re taking risks they normally wouldn’t. So people that have been cooped up in their homes for several days are willing to take more chances.”

Temperatures this week are a lot warmer now so Dr. Ahmed said frostbite really isn’t much of a concern anymore.

Dr. Ahmed said prevention is key. Stay home or find alternative means to stay off the roads, if possible. Otherwise, he said to drive slow and provide plenty of space between other cars.

He also added to take notice of where you’re walking and be aware of the ground conditions and to wear shoes that are worthy of winter weather.

Jalyn Souchek

Jalyn Souchek

Reporter
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