According to the National Safety Council, nearly 150,000 unintentional deaths happen each year due to home-related injuries. Falls are among the top 10 most common home-related injuries.
Falls are the number one cause of home injuries in the U.S. The two groups most at risk for falls are children under the age of 5 and adults over the age of 70. Typical injury symptoms are sharp pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness.
As you age, you become more susceptible to trips, slips, and falls because eyesight, hearing, and balance tend to worsen. Medication can also cause imbalance and confusion, which can lead to falls. Slips, trips, and falls can cause
- Fractures and breaks
- Knee and shoulder injuries
- Hip and pelvic injuries
- Hand injuries
- Sprains and strains
How can you prevent falls?
There are simple, practical measures you can take to prevent slips, trips, and falls in your house:
- Clean up spills immediately in the kitchen and bathroom, or on hardwood floors.
- Clear clutter and obstacles from hallways and walkways.
- Close cabinet and desk drawers when not in use.
- Replace burnt out light bulbs promptly.
- Replace worn-out flooring, loose carpet, slippery throw rugs, and wooden floorboards that are sticking up.
- Install handrails and grab bars on stairways, in the shower, and near the toilet if possible.
To prevent slips and falls as you age, consider these safety tips:
- Stay physically active to maintain strength, healthy bones, and balance.
- Have your eyesight and hearing checked regularly
- Know the side effects of your medication. Talk to your doctor if your medicine makes you feel dizzy, sleepy, or confused.
- Get enough sleep.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Use a cane or walker as needed, especially when walking in an unknown area or an area with an uneven surface.
- Wear non-skid shoes.
Another common home injury
Cuts from kitchen knives or other sharp objects, like scissors, tools, and saws, are another common home injury.
How should you treat a minor cut?
If your cut is minor, you can treat it at home. Here are some DOs and DONT’S to follow:
- Apply pressure to stop the bleeding and elevate the injured area.
- Clean the wound with soap and water if you can.
- Apply some antibacterial ointment or spray to keep it clean.
- Dress it with a bandage.
- Reapply antibiotic ointment and a bandage several times a day.
- Keep a close eye on it to monitor healing.
If your cut doesn’t appear to be healing and is causing you concern, visit your doctor right away.
- Do not use hydrogen peroxide to clean a wound, as it can damage the tissue.
- Do not use Steri-Strips at home. If you think you need to use a Steri-Strip, then you probably need stitches.
How do you know if you need stitches?
It is not always easy to tell if a cut will need stitches or not, so here are some guidelines to help you make that decision. You or a loved one should get stitches
- If the cut is deep enough to expose deeper tissue, bone, etc.
- If the wound is gaping open and you can’t press the edges together.
- If the wound is located on or across a joint (you may have damaged nerves, tendons, or ligaments as well).
- If a foreign object, such as a stick or piece of metal is stuck in the wound. (Caution: Don’t remove any foreign objects from a wound, as you don’t know what the foreign object has struck underneath (such as an artery.)
- If the cut is large, maybe more than a few inches in size.
- If you are bleeding profusely (and flow doesn’t appear to slow).
- If you were cut or punctured by something that is dirty or contaminated, such as a rusted piece of metal, a dog bite, etc. In such cases, a tetanus booster shot may be required, especially for adults who haven’t had one in the last 10 years.
- If you are ever uncertain how serious the cut really is, seek immediate medical attention.
Also, note that children who need stitches should not eat or drink anything beforehand, as they may need to be sedated before suturing because they do not typically stay still during the process. If they eat or drink before stitches, it will only delay treatment.When stitches are required, they should be done within approximately 6 hours to ensure proper healing. At Go To Ortho, a subsidiary of Summit Orthopaedics, we can provide stitches on-site at your scheduled appointment.
What to expect at Summit Orthopaedics
At Summit Orthopaedics, you can expect immediate care for home-related injuries that involve falls or cuts. During your visit, our team of specialists will provide an immediate diagnosis of the injury, corrective treatment, and medication if needed. They’ll also discuss with you any long-term options for recovery.