ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — As snow fell across the stateline, health officials emphasized how residents can take the right steps to protect themselves when it is time to clear off their car, driveway or sidewalks.

One of the ways to do this is to protect one’s hands. Experts said that one of the most frequent they see during this time of the year is injured hands from people trying to catch themselves when slipping on ice.

Lastly, it is important to make sure and have the proper gear on to prevent frostbite.

“Anytime you have blanching or whiteness of the fingertips, you should go inside immediately. If it’s been prolonged, any numbness or tingling in the fingers,” said Dr. Mary Elizabeth Rashid, a hand and upper extremity surgeon at OSF Healthcare. “The first sign of frostbite to the fingers is any blistering, and definitely I would recommend seeking medical attention for that.”

Rashid said that the best way to avoid injuries is to be prepared for snow before it falls, like by having salt and dressing properly.