June Health Beat

“Karen’s Kolumn” is researched and written by Public Health Nurse Karen Dolley. We appreciate her support and willingness to share!

“Hands On Home Safety–A Safe Home Is In Your Hands”

June has been designated Home Safety Month. The Home Safety Council recommends taking actions that will increase the safety of our homes. The five leading causes of home injury are falls, poisonings, fires and burns, choking and suffocation, and drowning. Home related injuries result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits per year.

June 1-6 is Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Week; June 7-13 is Teen Driving Safety Week; June 14-20 is Preventing Overexertion At Work and at Home Week; June 21-27 is Dangers of Cell Phone Use While Driving Week; and June 28-30 is designated for Summer Safety topics.

Unintentional overdose from over the counter medications, prescription medications, and illegal drugs is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Always store medications out of the reach of children, use child safety locks, use prescription drugs for their intended use only, and consult a doctor or pharmacist before combining medications to ensure there are no harmful interactions.

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for United States teens between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. Establish a zero tolerance policy for alcohol and drug use while behind the wheel. Twenty eight percent of all car crashes are caused by drivers using cell phones and texting while behind the wheel. Never text while driving, silence your cell phone before driving, leave cell phones out of reach while driving, and pull over and park your car if a call is absolutely necessary. As of January 1, 2010, seven states have implemented handheld cell phone bans and nineteen have text messaging bans. Teens driving after dark are four to five times more likely to crash. Set a curfew. Give your teen driver a lot of supervised time behind the wheel.

Overexertion is a major cause of inflammation of joints and ligaments. Most injuries are strains and sprains to the back or spine. Overexertion is the third leading cause for non-fatal injuries in the United States. Always know your own limits, enlist help, avoid bending, reaching or twisting when lifting, pace yourself, stretch or warm up before lifting or exercise, and lift with legs bent and objects held close to the body.

Being exposed to hot weather for too long can result in serious health problems or death due to heat exposure. Monitor children and the elderly closely. And don’t forget your pets.

To help prevent falls install grab bars in the tub and shower, use nonslip mats, use bright lights over stairs and on landings, and keep stairs clear of clutter.

To help prevent fires and burns have working smoke alarms and hold fire drills, always stay by the stove while cooking, use the back burners while cooking, turn pot handles towards the back of the stove, and keep hot water at 120 degrees to prevent serious burns.

To help prevent choking and suffocation keep small objects where children cannot see them or touch them, place babies on their backs to sleep and do not use pillows, toys, or comforters in a crib, do not use window blinds with pull cords, and always supervise children near water including bathtubs, toilets, pools, spas, and buckets of water.

For more information and fun activities go to www.nsc.org or www.homesafetycouncil.org.

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