Keeping You Body Wise: Fall-related Injury Prevention- Keeping You and Your Family Safe This Holiday Season

by TOI Admin December 5, 2011

The hectic pace of the holiday season may cause people to unknowingly let their guard down, making them more susceptible to bone, joint and muscle-related injuries. Many common activities can expose your family to injury-prone situations, making it even more important to be aware of your surroundings.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 39,700 people were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries during the 2010 holiday season. In addition, more than 12,100 visits to emergency departments resulted from activities to decorating for the holiday season.
 
To prevent fall-related injuries this holiday season, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests the following safety tips:
 
• Do not drink and decorate. Save your celebratory drink for after the lights are up and illuminated.
• Select the right ladder for the job. When working at low and medium heights, choose step stools or utility ladders. Extension ladders are ideal for use outdoors to reach high places, as when hanging items from the rooftop. The weight the ladder is supporting should never exceed its maximum load capacity.
• Inspect ladders for loose screws, hinges or rungs that may not have been fixed from last use. Clean off any mud or liquids that have accumulated on the ladder.
• Properly set up the ladder on a firm, level surface. Watch for soft, muddy spots or uneven flooring, and never place a ladder on ground that is uneven. Remember the 1-to-4 rule: the bottom of the ladder should be 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet that the ladder rises.
• Be careful when putting up holiday decorations, including lights and trees. Move materials with caution when on the ladder, and always position the ladder close to the work area, so you do not lose your balance and fall. Wear proper footwear with securely tied shoelaces.
• Use a step stool instead of furniture to stand on when you need a few more inches to hang a wreath or picture.
• Be mindful of any rearranged furniture and new decorations and make sure others in the house are familiar with the changes as well. Serious falls can happen when people trip over furniture placed in what used to be open space.
• Ask for help when moving heavy or awkward items.
• Minimize clutter and keep pathways clear of decorations, gift boxes, and other items that can trip you up.
Source: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00367

 

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