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Sheltering at Home? Take Steps to Prevent Injuries From Falls

SUNDAY, April 12, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- As you shelter at home during the coronavirus pandemic, eliminate hazards inside that could lead to falls, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) suggests.

Preventing injuries will help avoid putting added strain on a health care system struggling to treat COVID-19 patients, academy spokesman Dr. Todd Swenning said.

One out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as a broken bone or even head trauma, he added.

"While common perception is that falls only happen to older populations, the truth is that anyone is susceptible, especially with increased family members in the home or changes to your daily routine," Swenning said in an academy news release. "The good news is that most falls can be prevented with a few simple precautions."

Start with your footwear. Wear sturdy and proper footwear, make sure your shoes are properly tied, don't wear socks without grips, and replace stretched out or loose slippers, Swenning advised.

In the bedroom: Place a lamp, telephone or flashlight near your bed; have a bed that's easy to get into and out of; put a nightlight between your bedroom and the bathroom; and arrange clothes in your closet so that they're easy to reach.

In other areas of your home: Arrange furniture so there are clear paths between rooms; install easy-access light switches at room entrances so you don't have to walk into a dark room to turn on the light. Don't run extension cords across walking areas; secure loose area rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or slip-resistant backing; and avoid sitting in a chair or on a sofa that is so low that it's difficult to stand up.

Keep flashlights nearby in case of a power outage; keep stairs clear of clutter; repair loose stairway carpeting or wooden boards immediately.

In the bathroom: Place a slip-resistant rug next to the tub; use a rubber mat or nonskid adhesive textured strips inside the tub or shower. Keep a nightlight. Never rush to the bathroom.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on preventing falls.

SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, news release, April 9, 2020

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