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Winter Sports Safety: Preparation Is Key

SUNDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The outdoor winter sports season is in full swing, which means it's a good time to remind people about winter sports safety tips, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

"As with all sports, there are numerous things to consider before getting in the game. Winter sports are no different," orthopedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Dr. Anand Murthi said in an academy news release.

The AAOS offers the following general winter sports safety advice:

  • Check the weather before heading outdoors. Pay attention to warnings about storms and severe drops in temperature. Make adjustments for icy conditions, deep or wet snow, and bad weather.
  • Dress properly. Wear several layers of light, loose clothing that's both water- and wind-resistant to stay safe, warm and dry. Wear appropriate safety gear -- such as goggles and helmets -- and ensure that all equipment is in proper working order.
  • Don't go out alone. You should always be with a partner and remain in sight of each other. Make sure that someone else knows about your plans and whereabouts during your outdoor activity. It's also a good idea to carry a cellphone with you.
  • Warm up thoroughly before your activity in order to prevent muscle, tendon and ligament injuries.
  • Drink lots of water before, during and after outdoor activities.
  • Stay in shape and condition your muscles before the season begins. If you are over age 50, consider having a medical check-up before you start participating in a winter sport.
  • Know and obey all the rules of your sport. Take a lesson from a qualified instructor, particularly in sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
  • If you're in pain or feeling tired, call it a day.
  • Seek shelter and medical attention if signs of hypothermia or frostbite affect you or a companion. Early symptoms of frostbite include numbness and tingling, lack of feeling and poor motion in your fingers or toes.

More information

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers more winter sports safety tips.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, news release, January 2013

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