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How to Prevent Common Traumatic Injuries

May 09, 2018

Traumatic injuries are a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. Different from an illness, a traumatic injury is sudden, potentially severe and often requires medical attention. They are usually caused by blunt force, burns or by penetrating injury. While traumas are very serious, many of them can be prevented by paying attention to your surroundings and using common sense.

The top five types of traumatic injury are:

  • Falls

  • Automobile crashes

  • Motorcycle crashes

  • Pedestrians struck by a vehicle

  • Burns

Falls

Older woman fell on sidewalk.

Among older adults, a fall can be extremely serious, even when the fall occurs at ground level. One study found that adults 70 and older who fall at ground level are more likely to be severely injured than those who fall when they are younger than 70. As the population ages, this becomes even more important to know and guard against.

But fall risk isn’t limited to older adults. Almost half of all fatal falls involve ladders, and among construction workers, about 81 percent of falls treated in emergency rooms involved a ladder.

Fall prevention tips include:

  • Removing tripping hazards around the house

  • Making sure there is enough light to see

  • Wearing shoes that fit well and have non-skid soles

  • Using assistive devices such as handrails or supportive devices such as a walker or cane, if needed

  • Obtaining assistance with climbing a ladder — either by having someone hold the ladder or enlisting someone to complete the task

  • Following outlined safety protocol for ladder use

Vehicle Accidents

Whether it’s an automobile/motorcycle crash or being struck by a vehicle, injuries resulting from this type of trauma can be fatal. In 2016, 37,461 Americans died in motor vehicle crashes, with alcohol, speed, lack of safety belt use and other problem driver behaviors contributing to the death toll.

While not all accidents can be prevented, many can be avoided by taking the time to make good decisions and remaining alert while driving.

Distracted driving kills about nine people each day and injures more than 1,000. By avoiding distracted driving — which can include texting, operating the dashboard infotainment center, searching for an item that fell on the car floor  — the risk of an accident can be reduced.

Drunk driving numbers have fallen in the last 30 years, but still almost 29 people die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes every day.

Many vehicle accidents can be prevented or made less severe with simple steps.

  • Put down the phone and pay attention while driving

  • Don’t drink and drive

  • Use your seatbelt and ensure that all passengers are restrained securely

  • Pedestrians should cross at the crosswalk and watch for cars that might not see you. Although you may have the right of way, you will be the loser in a collision. Also, be aware if you’re wearing dark clothing and may not easily be detected by vehicles.

Burns

Nearly 75 percent of all burns take place at home, with the primary sources being fire/flame, contact with a hot object, electrical and chemical. The people most vulnerable to burns are young children and those with disabilities.

Preventive measures for burns include:

  • Ensuring your home has a working smoke alarm. This alone reduces the risk of dying in a home fire by half

  • Not leaving the stove unattended, turning pot handles toward the rear of the stove and using the back burner when possible

  • Keeping hot liquids, chemicals and matches/lighters out of the reach of children

While these preventive tips may not be new information, a peek inside a trauma department would show that it’s still good to remind ourselves to stop, think and use common sense to avoid unnecessary risk and a traumatic injury.

Are you interested in learning more about our Emergency and Trauma Care?

Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. Which is why all Orlando Health hospitals are equipped and staffed to handle any emergency situation — big or small. Our team of physicians are all board certified in emergency medicine, and are here for you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are also proud to offer Central Florida’s only Level One Trauma Center, located at Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center.


 

Learn More Here

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