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Preventing Slips, Falls, and Other Injuries

With fall here and winter on its' way, it is a good time to review preventative measures designed to avoid slips and falls while at home and while out and about. We here at The Thomas Law Firm wanted to discuss ten practical ways to reduce your risk of injury due to a slip and fall.

The first precaution may surprise people: check the medications you are taking for any side effects of dizziness or drowsiness. If any medications cause either of these effects, then ask your doctor if there is any medication that can be substituted for the one causing these effects. If there is not, then inquire about lowering the dose, or perhaps taking that medication at bedtime so that you are not walking around dizzy and/or drowsy.

Sounds simple, but in our fast-paced, busy lives, we often forget to watch where we step. If a sidewalk looks slippery, walk on the grass. Use a handrail whenever possible. In the winter, carry a little plastic bag of salt or sand to help provide traction on icy steps and walks.

Another way to gain traction and to prevent falls is to wear appropriate footwear, either athletic shoes or boots/shoes with thick, slip-resistant tread. Make sure that the footwear fits well and that laces are tied, and buckles buckled!

Part of fall cleaning should include removing clutter from floors. Clothes, magazines, toys, and anything else left lying around can cause you to trip, fall and possibly break a bone, or get a concussion. Stools, plants, and low coffee tables can act as obstacles in your path when crossing the room; try to keep them near bigger furniture, or tucked into corners of the room. Make sure the yard and driveway are free of clutter also; rake the leaves and clear any downed branches. Don't forget to salt ice when it gets cold!

Another simple but important precaution: don't rush. Running to answer the phone or doorbell, or rushing to catch an elevator means we are creating extra risks. Rushing leads to a higher chance of tripping, slipping and falling...and injuring ourselves. So take your time; better to miss the phone than miss your step.

Avoid falling by using safety devices when possible. Grab bars and rubber mats in the bathroom, handrails on both sides of stairs; skid-proof backing on area carpets; and sturdy step stools or grabbing devices are all helpful tools to avoid slips and falls.

Let the light shine in! Keeping areas well-lit helps you avoid obstacles, navigate through doorways, and go up and down stairs. Make sure that there are working light switches at the top and bottom of steps.

Pets are great company...and great tripping hazards. Every year, an estimated 21,000 older adults end up in Emergency Departments due to tripping over their little companions. Clear pet toys from walk ways, put food and water bowls out of the way, and consider putting a bell on your pet's collar so that you can hear them when they are close.

Alcohol can not only make you dizzy and unsteady, but it can cause dehydration which causes similar symptoms. Over time, excessive drinking can damage bone health, too. Limiting alcoholic intake will limit your risk for falls.

Finally, have your eyesight checked. If you need bifocals, make sure you are able to function with the double lens. If not, use single lens glasses, one pair for walking, another for reading.

The Thomas Law Firm hopes that these preventative steps help you to avoid slips and falls, and that consequently, you sustain fewer injuries. For more helpful information, contact The Thomas Law Firm.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

Phone: (678) 264-8348.
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