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Walk Like A Penguin: How To Avoid Falling During Refreeze

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Temperatures will be back below freezing in just a few hours. That is the recipe for a dicey situation.

Minnesotans know good and well that snow melt comes at a cost and COVID is making things trickier.

It was fun while it lasted, but the snow is making a slow descent. While there are signs of spring, winter is not over.

Just ask Debbie Luna. She found out the hard way.

"I fell on the concrete, conking my head," she said.

On Tuesday night, her driveway was slick as she took her recycling in to the curb.

"Right when I hit this, I went back, that went like so, I went on the ground," Luna, who lives one the west side of St. Paul, said. "So when the neighbor came, he drug me over there to the little bit of snowier area to pick me up and by this time I'm just soaking wet down to my underwear, because you can't get up. You are just kind of like a fish out of water just flopping around all over."

She was OK, but she wasn't the only one who fell victim to the refreeze. Dr. Andrew Laudenbach works in the Emergency Department of HCMC/Hennepin Healthcare.

"I have seen patients, even today, that have come in after injuries from slipping on the ice," he said.

And amidst a pandemic Laudenbach wants to make sure patients who have head injuries or fractures do come in, as some have been hesitant.

"I wouldn't let fear of COVID stop you from taking care of something that we actually know is going on," he said.

And to avoid going in, he says if you start to fall, try to quickly lower your center of gravity, drop anything in your arms and protect your head at all costs. Walk very slowly – the "penguin shuffle" as Minnesotans call it.

Luna, who's feeling better, has some advice too.

"Definitely don't put the recycle out at night and don't, just don't even walk around out at night," she said.

Laudenbach says to remember to walk very slowly this time of year. It may take longer to get where you're going, but it's a lot less time than waiting in an ER.

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