Wintertime risks that might not be on your radar

(NC) As the temperatures dip, many of us are changing our routines and daily activities. And while cozying up on your couch sounds pretty safe, there are many things we do this time of year that can pose hidden hazards. Here are a few to watch out for:

Outdoor exercise
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced major shutdowns, many of us swapped the gym for the great outdoors – and have kept it up ever since. But exercising in freezing weather poses extra risks like frost bite, hypothermia and slippery surfaces. Be sure to dress in layers; keep your hands, head, ears and feet extra warm; and check the weather forecast before you head out. Consider buying shoes with added traction half a size larger than normal so you can wear thermal socks. 

Water navigation
Most of us think of being out on lakes and oceans as a summer pastime, but plenty of people still fish, hunt, boat and even work on the water in winter. However, navigation in harsher weather can be more challenging and dangerous. To help, the Government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan is investing in improving navigation for boaters and water users. One element of the plan involves working with Indigenous and coastal communities to develop an enhanced maritime situational awareness system, which gives a near real-time picture of what's taking place in local waters. This user-friendly software system helps provide information and data on vessel traffic, weather, hydrography and sensitive ecological areas.\

Clearing snow
Whether you’re clearing your driveway, roof or car, snow removal is a surprisingly dangerous task. Slips and falls are common when ice and snow are on the ground, and they can lead to sprains and fractures. Snow blowers have even been known to lead to amputations when people reach into the equipment to clear a jam. Stay safe by using non-slip shoes or boots, turning off equipment before tinkering with it and salting driveways and walkways.

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