8 Tips to Keep Your Head Safe

By Michelle Ponte

You always wear your seatbelt, put on a helmet for sports activities and steer clear of crowds at the mall. That’s great, but are you doing everything you can to avoid a head injury? Protecting your head is priority number 1 when you have ITP. A hit or even a bump to the head can cause bleeding in the brain. Brain bleeds are serious and can even be life threatening. According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls and car accidents cause the most traumatic brain injuries. Here’s your personal safety list for staying injury-free. Read it, print it and post it on the bulletin board.

1. Wear a helmet. This is especially critical when playing any type of contact sport and for activities such as riding a bike or roller-skating.
Safety tip: Even “safer” activities like cross-country skiing can be dangerous if you fall, so wear other protective gear in addition to a helmet.

2. Always wear a seatbelt. You know it’s the right thing to do, plus, the law requires it. Wearing a seatbelt will also protect your head in other situations besides an accident, such as sudden stopping or accelerating.
Safety tip: Install comfort pads on your seatbelts to avoid bruising.

3. Throw away the throws. They may be stylish, but throw rugs can be dangerous when placed on a slick surface such as wood, tile or vinyl. Simply placing your foot at the wrong angle can send you flying.
Safety tip: Watch out for doormats, bath mats and towels.

4. Keep the lights on. Install nightlights throughout your home. Make sure that stairways leading to basements, the upper floors in your house and outside are well lit.
Safety tip: Install handrails on all indoor and outdoor stairways and inclines.

5. Safety-proof the bathroom. Place a rubber mat in the bathtub to prevent a slip. Install handrails in the shower and bathtub. Always wipe up excess water after a shower.
Safety tip: Soap scum can slicken handrails and door handles, so keep a spray cleaner handy to wipe up after a shower.

6. Follow the 30-second cleanup rule. Wipe up water spills immediately, especially doorways leading to the outside. Pay special attention to kitchen and laundry room floors.
Safety tip: Watch your pets—they can leave a drip trail from the water bowl.

7. Clear pathways. Be prepared for winter conditions. De-ice and clear snow from walkways and stairs. Make sure your indoor walkways, such as stairs and hallways, are free of clutter.
Safety tip: Keep a handyman on-call who is willing to shovel snow on short notice.

8. Close the doors! Forgetting to close a cabinet or dishwasher door promptly can result in an accident.
Safety tip: Commit to keeping your drawers three-quarters full so they close more easily.

What’s the hurry? Slow down!

Moving quickly from task to task increases your risk of a fall. So, take a deep breath and take it down a notch. While you’re at it, rethink your shoes and consider (at least at home) wearing ones with rubber soles.

Head injuries are serious

Call your doctor immediately if you hit your head or have an accident.

Published July 2011

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