Did you know that falls are the number one cause of injuries in the United States? In fact, every year, millions of Americans are injured in falls. Some of these injuries are minor, such as bruises and scrapes. But other injuries, such as broken bones, concussions, and spinal cord injuries, can be much more serious.
Falls can happen anywhere, at any time. You could slip and fall on a wet floor in a grocery store, or trip and fall down a flight of stairs. You could even fall out of a tree or off a ladder.
Injuries from falls can be costly, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the medical costs for falls totaled more than $50 billion in 2015. These costs include hospitalizations, doctor visits, and prescription drugs.
There are many ways to prevent falls. For example, you can:
-Wear shoes that fit well and have good traction
-Clear clutter from your home and workplace
-Fix any broken steps or handrails
-Install lighting in dark areas
-Use a step stool or ladder instead of standing on furniture
-Wipe up spills right away
-Keep floors clean and dry
-Make sure carpets are not bunched up or slippery
-Wear a helmet when participating in activities that could cause a fall
If you have a family member who is 65 years of age or older, there are some extra steps you can take to help prevent falls. The CDC recommends that you:
-Exercise to improve your strength and balance
-Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year
-Take medications as prescribed and talk to your doctor about side effects that could cause dizziness or drowsiness
-Drink alcohol only in moderation
-Make your home safer by removing hazards and installing lighting and handrails
If you do fall, try to stay calm and don’t move until someone comes to help you. If you can’t get up, crawl to a phone and call for help. And if you think you may have injured yourself, seek medical attention right away.
Falls can be serious, but by taking some simple precautions, you can help prevent them.