June is remarkable for the number of “National Months” it contains. For example, in addition to it being LGBTQIA Pride Month, it is also National Papaya Month and National Candy Month. For those of us who want to celebrate the good early summer weather, it’s also National Great Outdoors Month. However, since it is also National Safety Month, we decided to combine the last two and explore ways to avoid accidents and injuries, indoors and out.
Trips, slips and falls can have serious consequences
Whether they occur at home, in public or in the workplace, falls account for 8 million hospital emergency room visits, and that makes it the leading cause of ER visits. Fractures, head, and spinal cord injuries are among the worst outcomes, especially in older persons. Half of all elderly adults over aged 65 who are hospitalized for hip fractures cannot return home or live independently after the fracture.
Many falls are preventable
There are lots of straightforward steps to prevent falls. As a homeowner, think about preventing falls in your home for your family and guests. The key is to so this before someone falls, not after!
What if I’m the one who might fall in my home?
Begin by taking inventory of what puts you at risk of falling? These are some issues to think about:
- Do you take medicines that might cause you to be sleepy or dizzy? Ask your primary care provider or pharmacist if there might be alternatives. Don’t forget to include over the counter medicines and prescription drugs.
- Accident-proof your home: fix the dark hallways, loose carpets, rickety stairs, remove trip hazards such as electrical cords and remove clutter, especially in hallways or staircases..
- Install grab bars or handrails for getting up and down stairs, using the toilet and stepping in and out of the shower or bathtub.
- Wear the right clothes and shoes. If you wear pants that are too long or slippery socks, you may take a spill.
- Live on one floor or level.
- Don’t make any sudden moves. Go from sitting or lying down to sitting up or standing slowly, gradually, because sudden changes in position can cause dizziness and possible fainting. If this happens to you, speak to your primary care physician.
- Take more exercise and perhaps a balance class.
How can I feel safe in the great outdoors?
Beautiful summer weather brings us out of the house and out into a new set of potential hazards! This shouldn’t prevent you from going outside but we do encourage you to take sensible precautions. The National Safety Council offers some useful advice for staying safe in the summer.
- Heat related illness
Sunstroke, heat exhaustion, sunburn all fall under this category. Wear SPF protective clothing, wear a hat drink lots of water and don’t push yourself. If you’re tired, take a break.
- Beat the bugs
In the Hudson Valley we are all highly aware of ticks., but don’t forget that mosquitoes carry a number of illnesses including Zika Virus and West Nile Virus. Attend an awareness session to identify where they hang out. Use repellent when spending time outdoors and check yourself when you come in.
Emergency departments see more than 20,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related traumatic brain injury each year. Make sure your children are supervised and safe.
Everyone falls, but there’s a right way to do it. In 2017, 98,486 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms after being injured skateboarding. Helmets, knee pads, elbow pads are a start, but adult supervision is needed to ensure that kids know their limits.
- Water Safety
The heartbreak of drowning is almost always preventable. Never swim alone, or let your children swim alone. Make sure the swimmer is capable of swimming in the conditions, watch out for riptides, and start swimming lessons at an early age.
- Boat Safety
Lack of skill, changes in weather conditions and lack of life jackets can turn a lovely day into a frightening one. In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,291 boating incidents that resulted in 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries and about $46 million in property damage. Stay safe by being prepared and using the appropriate equipment, whether enjoying a ride on a motorized boat, paddling a kayak or wakeboarding.
- Bike Safety
Make sure all riders have helmets, good reflectors and reflective clothing, exercise extra caution where there are motor vehicles.
- Pedestrian Safety
Walkers who pay more attention to their cell phones than traffic or other pedestrians have become a major problem, we are all much more vulnerable when walking, crossing streets and negotiating traffic. It is essential to BE SEEN TO BE SAFE. Too often pedestrians where dark colors that blend in with the road or shady areas. Wear bright colors and encourage your children to do the same.
Premier Medical Group wants you to stay safe!
Your Premier doctors, nurse practitioners and other providers want you to enjoy your summer, but if an injury or illness occurs, call us at 845.790.6100. We’ll see you as quickly as possible and hope to have you back to having fun as soon as possible.