Spring cleaning

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: April 28th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Ah, spring cleaning.

After a long winter, many of us set out to spruce up our homes as the weather starts to warm. From clearing out cluttered closets and washing windows to painting, gardening and lawn mowing, there are plenty of chores to keep us busy.

But use a little caution when you wave that washrag around… many injuries can occur during such cleaning sprees. In 2005 alone, more than eight-hundred-forty-thousand ladder, garden tool and lawn mowing injuries sent Americans to hospitals and doctors’ offices across the country.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says it’s important to take safety precautions to reduce the likelihood of spring cleaning-related accidents.

Most injuries are preventable. So here are a few tips on how to protect yourself:

When lifting something heavy, make sure to separate your feet shoulder-width apart, keep your back straight and bend at the knees. Also, lift with your legs, not with your back. This will save you from unnecessary strain.

When using a ladder, place it on a firm, stable surface… no wet grass or uneven pavement… and when gardening, avoid doing repetitive motions, such as digging, for too long.

Also, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water to avoid getting dehydrated. If you do feel short of breath or have chest pain, call 9-1-1 immediately.

So be good to yourself this spring and pack a little common sense along with your toolbox. Take the necessary precautions to stay safe so you don’t exchange hanging around your house for a trip to the hospital.