Much of the northeast corner of the U.S. is expected to plunge into a deep freeze this week, raising the likelihood that your urgent care centers will be seeing cold weather-related injuries. Some can be relatively minor, such as acute back pain in the wake of heavy snow shoveling, but that same activity could spark chest pain, especially in older patients. Then there’s frostbite, hypothermia, and orthopedic presentations related to slipping on slick surfaces outside. Weather-related concerns equate to an opportunity for urgent care to provide on-the-spot care for community members, thinning out the crowd in the local emergency room in the process, but also to provide public health education. Bill Dukes, MD at the North Ottawa Community Health System’s urgent care operation in Michigan seized such an opportunity when he was contacted by local media, seeking information about how residents can prepare for extreme cold. If you don’t have a designated provider to speak with local media, consider prepping one. And to ensure all your providers are prepared for seasonal presentations, read Injuries to the Upper Extremity Due to Falls on Outstretched Hands (FOOSH) and Cold Weather-Related Injuries in the JUCM archive.
As Temperatures Fall, Weather-Related Presentations to Urgent Care Rise