Area residents visit emergency rooms more after slipping on ice during winter weather storms.

According to Cook County medical staff, winter advisories can pose serious health and safety threats and often lead to an increase in fractures, sprains and other various injuries.

The following steps can decrease the chance of a fall this winter:

• Check the weather –Wear winter boots with good traction and avoid shoes with smooth, slippery bottoms. Go for function over fashion.

• Walk cautiously –Take small, cautious steps and stay low to the ground walking with curled toes and a flat foot.

• Go hands free –Your arms help you balance, so avoid heavy purses, coffee, or holding your phone out in front of you while walking on icy or snow-covered surfaces.

Take your time – When the weather is adverse, take extra time to get between destinations. Avoid running for buses, or trying to beat traffic when crossing a street. Don’t worry; you’ll catch the next one.

• Brace yourself – When entering and exiting a vehicle, support yourself before standing and use the car door for stability.

Stay safe this winter. As always, stay connected with Cook County Health on CookCTYHealth or dial 312-864-6000 to get connected at the hospital.