By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: June 12, 2019
“Summer afternoon-summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
– Henry James
Dear Red Hot Mamas,
In the US:
Emergency Departments Visits:
- Number of emergency department visits for injuries: 45.5 million (includes visits for adverse effects of medical treatment)
Physician Office Visits:
- Number of visits to physician offices for injuries: 72.6 million (includes visits for adverse effects of medical treatment)
All injury deaths
- Number of deaths: 231,991
- Deaths per 100,000 population: 71.8
All poisoning deaths
- Number of deaths: 68,995
- Deaths per 100,000 population: 21.4
Motor vehicle traffic deaths
- Number of deaths: 38,748
- Deaths per 100,000 population: 12.0
Injuries are a leading cause of death for Americans. But there is good news. You all can get involved to help prevent injuries like preventing poisonings, transportation safety, and slips, trips, and falls.
Here are some more interesting facts:
- Poisonings: Nine out of 10 poisonings happen right at home. You can be poisoned by many things, like cleaning products or another person’s medicine.
- Transportation safety: Doing other activities while driving – like texting or eating – distracts you and increases your chance of crashing. Almost 1 in 6 crashes where someone is injured involves distracted driving.
- Slips, trips, and falls: More than 1 in 4 older adults fall each year. Many falls lead to broken bones or head injuries.
Red Hot Tips to Prevent Poisonings:
Drugs and Medicines
- Only take prescription medications that are prescribed to you by a healthcare professional. Misusing or abusing prescription or over-the-counter medications is not a “safe” alternative to illicit substance abuse.
- Never take larger or more frequent doses of your medications, particularly prescription pain medications, to try to get faster or more powerful effects.
- Never share or sell your prescription drugs. Keep all prescription medicines (especially prescription painkillers), over-the-counter medicines (including pain or fever relievers and cough and cold medicines), vitamins and herbals in a safe place that can only be reached by people who take or give them.
- Follow directions on the label when you give or take medicines. Read all warning labels. Some medicines cannot be taken safely when you take other medicines or drink alcohol.
- Turn on a light when you give or take medicines at night so that you know you have the correct amount of the right medicine.
- Keep medicines in their original bottles or containers.
- Dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs. Follow federal guidelines for how to do this.
- Participate in National Drug Take Back days recognized by the Drug Enforcement Administration or local take back programs in your community.
Household Chemicals and Carbon Monoxide
- Always read the label before using a product that may be poisonous.
- Keep chemical products in their original bottles or containers. Do not use food containers such as cups, bottles, or jars to store chemical products such as cleaning solutions or beauty products.
- Wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeves, long pants, socks, shoes) for and use of chemicals and pesticides.
- Never mix household products together. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia can result in toxic gases.
- Turn on the fan and open windows when using chemical products such as household cleaners.
- Read the label again and again.
- Put the poison help number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone and save it on your cell phone. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Red Hot Driving Safety Tips:
- Keep 100% of your attention on driving at all times – no multi-tasking.
- Don’t use your phone or any other electronic device while driving.
- Slow down. Speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of an accident.
- Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing and expect the unexpected.
- Assume other motorists will do something crazy, and always be prepared to avoid it.
- Keep a 4 second cushion between you and the car in front of you. (Example: one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi)
Make a safe driving plan
- Build time into your trip schedule to stop for food, rest breaks, phone calls or other business.
- Adjust your seat, mirrors and climate controls before putting the car in gear.
- Pull over to eat or drink. It takes only a few minutes.
- Don’t attempt to retrieve items that fall to the floor.
- Have items needed within easy reach – such as toll fees, toll cards and garage passes.
- Always wear your seat belt and drive sober and drug-free.
- Avoid driving when you’re tired. Be aware that some medications cause drowsiness and make operating a vehicle very dangerous.
- Always use caution when changing lanes. Cutting in front of someone, changing lanes too fast or not using your signals may cause an accident or upset other drivers.
Let’s focus now on falls and what you can do to prevent falls:
Falls can be prevented. These are some simple things you can do to keep yourself from falling.
Talk to Your Doctor
- Ask your doctor or healthcare provider to evaluate your risk for falling and talk with them about specific things you can do.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy. This should include prescription medicines and over-the counter medicines.
Do Strength and Balance Exercises
Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance. Tai Chi is a good example of this kind of exercise.
Have Your Eyes Checked
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and be sure to update your eyeglasses if needed.
If you have bifocal or progressive lenses, you may want to get a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities, such as walking. Sometimes these types of lenses can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.
Make Your Home Safer
- Get rid of things you could trip over.
- Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Put railings on both sides of stairs.
- Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter light bulbs. And keep a night light lite in your bathroom.
In closing, let’s keep each other safe by learning ways to prevent injuries.
Good Health to You All,