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Spinal cord injuries require additional winter safety protocol

Having a spinal cord injury leads to challenges in various aspects of your life. Many people don't realize just how far-reaching these can be. During the winter months, New Jersey residents who have spinal cord injuries need to be extra careful so they don't suffer from injuries, including frostbite.

Winter safety has to be a priority for anyone who has a spinal cord injury. This is especially true for those who suffer from nerve damage and have changes in their ability to feel.

Dress for the weather

Frostbite is a primary concern during the winter months. You should dress in layers so that you have protections against the elements. Try not to choose cotton items because cotton will remain wet and cold instead of insulating your body. Be sure you protect your hands, feet and head from the cold. Mittens or gloves, insulated boots, and hats can do this. If possible, carry a spare set of gloves and an extra hat just in case the first ones get wet.

Stay hydrated

Your body uses more water in the winter months than it does the remainder of the year. Remember to drink more on the colder days. Drinks that have caffeine can be dehydrating, so try to avoid these if possible. If you feel as though you are dehydrated or are showing signs of it, try to increase your fluid intake. In some cases, a trip to the doctor might be in order so that you can receive treatment for dehydration.

Prepare your wheels

Using a wheelchair on snow or ice can be a real challenge. Consider having the tires changed to ones that are appropriate for these conditions. Some people note that mountain bike tires are ideal for slick winter surfaces. You might also be able to wrap the tires to provide more traction. However, things like plastic or nylon wires might have to be removed if you are going indoors. When possible, stick to shoveled or plowed surfaces since your wheelchair can easily be stuck in snow.

If this is your first winter after your spinal cord injury, be sure that you are paying close attention to how you feel. People who have a recent injury caused by another person's negligence might opt to pursue a claim for compensation for the financial damages that they suffer due to the accident.

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R.C. Shea & Associates, Counsellors at Law
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