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With winter in full swing in Iowa, snow and icy conditions have lead to an increase in injuries from falls. Emergency rooms are treating more cases than they did last year. Falling and hitting your head puts you at risk of a traumatic brain injury.

According to a Feb. 5 press release posted on the Iowa Department of Public Health Web site, now Iowans, and especially older Iowans, are most susceptible to slips and falls due to winter ice.

“Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries,” IDPH Brain Injury Services coordinator Ben Woodworth said in the release. “We should all prepare ourselves for slippery conditions by knowing what to do to avoid a fall and what to watch for if a fall does happen.”

Woodworth said symptoms of a concussion from a fall include “confusion, headache, blurred vision and nausea” and anyone with those symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Statistics compiled by the CDC show that falls happen to 33 percent of adults 65 and older. Falls can be reduced by going slow, wearing shoes with a cleats, and clearing ice and snow from walkways. Salt, sand and kitty litter can all help increase traction in the ice and snow.

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