Winter at Big Tent RV Park and Campground in Parksville. (Vicky Summers/Submitted)

Winter at Big Tent RV Park and Campground in Parksville. (Vicky Summers/Submitted)

Island Health is advising everyone, particularly seniors, to be extremely cautious when they venture outdoors in snowy and icy conditions.

Island Health said seniors are especially at risk of suffering serious injuries from slips and falls. People are also asked to avoid driving unless they need to, in order to reduce vehicle crashes.

Island Health is also reminding everyone to only use hospital emergency departments for urgent and acute medical issues as emergency departments are busier than usual with slip and falls, fractures and motor vehicle crashes.

Island Health has these strategies to reduce the risk of falling:

  • Wear proper fitting, supportive footwear appropriate to the weather
  • Keep your centre of gravity over your feet and hands out of your pockets to maintain balance
  • Walk slowly, penguin-walk style and pay attention to where you are going
  • Use handrails when available, especially on steps
  • Avoid stepping on ice or snow if possible – or, if you must, walk where it’s crunchy if you can
  • Use a backpack instead of carrying a purse – this will improve your balance
  • Use walking aids (walkers or canes) as ordered for you by a health professional
  • Sprinkle sand or salt around your home and on sidewalks to improve traction
As for snow removal, Island Health recommends being aware of the physical strain of shovelling snow, pacing, and helping seniors who are not able to clear their sidewalks.