HELENA – Last year, St. Peter’s Hospital saw over 50,000 visits at their emergency room and urgent care locations and now that winter is upon us, wants to remind people that injuries this time of year can happen to anyone.

Slip and fall accidents are increasingly more common once snow and ice is present and they can be particularly hard on older adults.

According to The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, among older adults there are over 800,000 patients a year that become hospitalized because of a fall injury.

Heart attacks are also a risk when having shoveling or any other strenuous activity in the cold.

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St. Pete’s emergency room physician Dr. Andy Coil says many winter injuries can be serious, but not every injury requires an emergency room visit.

“If you have a simple bruise or sprain of your ankle or your wrist you can go to an Urgent Care,” says Dr. Coil, “But if you have chest pain you need to come to the emergency room where we can properly take care of you.”

St. Pete’s says that if you are unsure of the severity of your injury or illness it’s always better to be safe and get it checked out.

The National Safety Council also has a list of precautions people can take to help remain safe throughout the holiday season. Click here for the full list.

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