The Leaves Are Beginning to Fall!

General Steward Health Care

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Every fall, many homeowners watch in awe as the leaves on their trees change those beautiful auburn, yellow and red colors. And, with the changing of colors also comes the fall clean¬up as these leaves drop to the ground and clog gutters.

ladderEach year, thousands of Americans are injured cleaning gutters, raking leaves, washing windows and doing other chores. Back injuries, falls from ladders and lawn mower accidents are the typical injuries that emergency rooms see every fall season.

As you get ready to tackle your fall cleanup, have these following safety tip in place:

  • Cleaning gutters, washing windows, painting and trimming trees. Make sure your ladder is stable and placed on a firm, level surface. When you climb the ladder always have someone spot you. As you are working on a ladder, don’t over¬reach or lean too far to one side as this can make you lose your balance and fall. Your bellybutton should not go beyond the sides of the ladder. Also, never stand on the top rung.
  • Raking. If you are looking for a good workout, raking leaves definitely burns calories and can be vigorous exercise. Before you begin, warm up by stretching. Use a rake that is comfortable for your height and strength, and vary your movement, alternating your leg and arm positions often. Wear gloves to prevent blisters. Do not overfill leaf bags as lifting a heavy bag may cause a back injury.
  • Lifting heavy objects. Maintain a proper technique for lifting, carrying and bending to avoid back injuries. To lift heavy objects properly, separate your feet, shoulder width apart and keep your back upright. Bend at the knees while tightening the stomach muscles and lift with your leg muscles as you stand up. Ask for help if something is too heavy to lift by yourself.
  • Mowing the lawn. Wear proper footwear and googles for protection. Use a mower with a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is released. If you have your child mow the lawn, they should be at least 12 ¬years ¬old before they operate any lawn mower, and at least 16¬ years ¬old for a ride on mower.

Implementing these easy safety tips during this fall cleanup season should keep you injury free. If you do sustain an injury, immediately call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

*Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, www.aaos.org
*Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, www.healthychildren.org

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.