02:28am Sunday 08 December 2019

It's icicle season so heed 'falling ice' signs, says Loyola emergency medicine specialist

“An icicle is like a sharp, stiletto-heel dagger,” said Mark Cichon, DO, chair, Department of Emergency Medicine. “Coupled with the forceful dynamics of impact from falling a distance, a person can sustain serious injury.”

He wanted to remind pedestrians that signs warning of falling ice and cordons along sidewalks are needed to protect passersby.

“It may be annoying to have to walk around a roped-off area, but it is better to take extra safety precautions than to wind up injured and in the emergency department,”  he said.

Here are six winter icicle safety tips from Dr. Cichon:

  • Tread carefully – “Be mindful of ice above your head and below your feet,” Cichon said. “Avoid walking under hanging ice and walk carefully on ice-coated sidewalks.”
  • Plan ahead – “Removing icicles and snow from the roof of your house has its benefits but also its dangers,” Cichon said. “I’ve had patients who fell off ladders and the roof while removing heavy snow and also those who got splinters in their eyes when knocking off hanging icicles.”
  • Wear protective gear – “When removing ice and snow, safety glasses and hard hats are often overlooked but may be a wise investment to prevent injury,” Cichon said.
  • Tap lightly – “Lightly tap icicles with a long-handled shovel to gently dislodge rather than giving a forceful whack,” Cichon said. “Make sure people and pets are not around to avoid injuries. Also it’s best to let others know what you are doing.”
  • Talk to family members about safety – “Kids especially can be tempted to knock off frozen spikes and they are the ones most prone to injury,” Cichon said. “Talk to your kids in advance about safety.”
  • Trust professionals – “You shouldn’t be on a snow-covered roof unless you are a professional specially equipped and trained to handle the dangers,” Cichon said. “Paying a service may be a wise investment rather than risking your health.”

Loyola’s emergency department receives some of the region’s most critically ill and injured patients and the severity level of emergency admissions is among the highest in the country. Loyola emergency medicine physicians are board certified and treat more than 50,000 seriously ill and injured patients every year, including major trauma, high-risk obstetrics, unstable cardiac conditions, poisonings and severe illnesses. The 31-bed emergency facility is one of the most advanced in the Midwest and contains specialty care sections for trauma, cardiac care and pediatrics. Specialty services at Loyola include a Level 1 trauma center, aeromedical transport, chest pain emergency evaluation center, pediatric emergency care and stroke center.

As an academic medical center, Loyola offers professional education to emergency medical technicians and also conducts clinical research trials. As part of Loyola’s leadership in preventing and diagnosing infectious disease, Loyola offers a free HIV test to all emergency department patients.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola’s Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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