Scots urged to stay safe and 'walk like a penguin' amid cold snap

Health experts say walking like the birds can help with stability to prevent injuries during icy conditions.

NHS Scotland are urging people to “walk like a penguin” during snowy and icy weather conditions this winter.

Health experts claim walking like the birds can help with stability to prevent injuries from slipping and falling on ice.

A number of yellow weather warnings have been issued for parts of Scotland, with freezing conditions leading to slippery pavements and roads.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde volunteers have demonstrated the method outside the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, which starts with bending slightly and keeping the knees loose.

The top tips include pointing out the feet slightly, extending the arms at the sides before walking in a flat-footed fashion.

Members of the public are being urged to take short steps and to keep their centre of gravity over their feet.

Dr Emilia Crighton, director for public health at NHSGGC, said: “At this time of year – and especially in icy spells like this one – slips, trips and falls are the most common accidents that result in injury. 

“While it might seem silly to walk or waddle like a penguin, the alternative may be a nasty injury or even time in hospital.

“Remember, when it comes to getting around on ice, penguins know best, so when you’re out and about in the next few days, adopting the penguin stance is a really effective way to move without falling. 

“During this time we should also make sure we’re supporting our elderly family members and neighbours by making journeys on their behalf to avoid them having to go out in icy conditions.” 

The health board is advising those who experience falls and trips not to attend A&E for treatment if it is not very urgent or life-threatening.

Dr Crighton added: “A&E is there to help the sickest people and treat the most urgent emergencies, and we would always advise anyone who thinks their condition or injury is very urgent or life-threatening to call 999 or go to A&E immediately. 

“However, most falls and trips do not require treatment at A&E – and in fact you might be asked to seek help elsewhere if you arrive at A&E inappropriately. 

“If assessment is required, our Minor Injuries Units are often best placed to carry that out, so we would urge anyone who has suffered a fall to call NHS24 on 111.

“They will be able to give you the advice you need, including directing you to a Minor Injuries Unit if required.” 

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