Cleanup in the yard and the home is a necessary evil this time of the year. But if you’re not careful, you could end up nursing a serious injury.
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Among the most-frequently seen injuries in the emergency department are those resulting from falls and eye injuries, says emergency department physician Thomas Waters, MD.
Serious falls tend to happen when someone slips off a ladder, or when someone is standing on a countertop or ledge to reach a high place.
“If you take a significant fall and you’re having serious pain or any deformity to a limb, or experience back pain or neck pain, you need to get yourself to the hospital as quickly as possible,” Dr. Waters says.
You can decrease your risk of a serious fall by setting up your ladder only on ground that is level. Find a volunteer to hold the ladder steady while you climb it and as you work on it.
Watch your eye safety
Your eyes are vulnerable when you’re cleaning up outside, so make sure that you’re wearing safety glasses, Dr. Waters says.
“We see eye injuries fairly often,” Dr. Waters says. “People might be using a string trimmer and a piece of dirt or mulch gets flung into the eye, causing injury. Or we see a patient who was pruning a bush, and bent down and then a branch flew into their face. Glasses can help prevent these sorts of injuries.”
It’s a good idea to protect your eyes when you are mowing the lawn, Dr. Waters says. Your lawnmower or riding mower can kick out a stick or other object that is hidden in the grass at a wound-inducing high speed.
Safety glasses also are imperative if you’re operating any kind of power or cutting tools. Choose safety glasses that have side protection.
Dr. Waters says wearing safety glasses are a good idea when you’re cleaning inside as well. A splash of cleaning chemicals into your eyes can cause a serious injury.
Other common hazards in the house and yard include:
- Household cleaning products – They can cause burns or irritate the skin, especially when mixed together. The fumes alone can irritate your lungs and land you in the emergency department.
- Sharp equipment or tools – String trimmers and pruning shears are among the many tools and equipment that can cause cuts or deep wounds.