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How to prevent falls during the winter


Now that the cold and snowy weather has finally arrived, Manitobans are being reminded of the risks of falling.

Epidemiologist Cynthia Carr is reminding people to be extra careful during these types of winter weather conditions as they can pose safety issues.

“Falls are a significant safety issue for our senior residents, both in the home and outside of the home,” she said in an interview with CTV Morning Live on Friday.

Carr noted that falls account for more than 20,000 hospitalizations every year in Canada.

“When you are in the emergency department, which I happened to be in a week ago, you can see the impact of falls,” she said.

“Elderly people who have fallen in the home and then they’re in the emergency department, they need care, they might have other conditions.”

Carr explained that when elderly people are injured during a fall, they may experience long-term hospitalization, as well as complexities from surgeries and other illnesses.

“That is really important in terms of caution and prevention both in the home and outside the home in terms of vigilance for fall prevention,” she said.

This warning comes as hospitals are seeing an increase in wait times and admissions.

According to Carr, there tends to be an uptick in visits to the emergency department in the weeks following the holiday season, particularly because of respiratory viruses.

“This is not unusual, but it is a huge pressure on the system,” she said.

She noted that in one week at the end of last month, there were 4,931 urgent care and emergency department visits in Manitoba.

“That is a large number of visits that our health-care system is trying to handle,” she said.

“The more some of these very infectious respiratory illnesses are passed around, the more people that are showing up at urgent care and emergency for care, the wait times get longer.”

Carr said Manitobans should call 911 if they or someone they are with experiences unconsciousness or difficulty breathing.

For those who are unsure, she suggests contacting Health Links or going to the WRHA’s website for guidance.

- With files from CTV’s Ainsley McPhail. Top Stories

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