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Preventing falls, preventing injury

Preventing falls, preventing injury

Falls are a common cause of injury, experienced from the time a child learns to walk until old age, when an elderly tries to maintain balance over weak limbs.

Injuries caused from falls can be quite severe and the stats regarding falls are alarming. Annually, more than 700,000 are hospitalized to treat a fall injury. The most common medical issues of a fall include fractures and head injuries. These are seen most often in the elderly aged 65 years or older, young adults of 15–29 years of age and children below the age of 15 years. Some falls can be fatal, with statistics recording a whopping 4,240,000 fatal falls yearly, and making it the second leading cause of unintentional death.

In many, particularly the elderly, falls may also cause emotional distress. Having fallen once, a person may fear falling again. This can result in a hesitance to take part in physical activities, which ironically makes them weaker and further increases their risk of falling.

Following a few simple tips will ensure that this fear does not rule your life and you do not hurt yourself again by a fall:

  • Formulating a fall-prevention strategy with the help of your doctor. You can discuss previous falls, current health issues as well as medications that you are taking on a regular basis so that your doctor can determine the cause of your fall and suggest a suitable solution.
  • Increase your physical activity gradually with walking or a gentle workout that will improve your strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination.
  • Wear shoes with non-skid soles that fit well.
  • Make your home environment safe by:
    • Remove clutter that you can trip over
    • Immediately clean up any split liquid or food
    • Rearrange furniture so that you have more walking space
    • Repair loose floorboards or carpeting
    • Use non-slip mats in your bathroom
    • Ensure that your home has proper lighting and you have flashlights that are readily accessible in case of power failure.
    • You may also want to use a walker or a cane, a handrail for your stairs, grab bars for the shower, or a plastic seat that can be used to bathe while sitting down.

Coming up with a good fall-prevention plan will be well worth the effort to keep you active, and free of pain and disability.

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