By using some simple steps and common sense procedures, you can more easily avoid common injuries and problems like fractures, sprains, sunburn and blisters.
Working on your home this spring? Few activities are more satisfying. However, an injury can turn a satisfying activity into a miserable one with sometimes long lasting consequences. Here’s how to work on your home and garden safely and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Begin by stretching your body before any activity. An injury is more likely to occur to someone who is inflexible and not “warmed up.” A simple walk around your property can get your blood flowing which helps loosen the muscles. Organize your work area so you have what you need when you need it. Arrange your equipment in a way to reduce risk of tripping and falling. Use the right tool for the job – e.g. don’t use a pair of scissors as a knife.
Make sure your equipment is functioning properly:
- don’t use frayed cords,
- be sure ladders are properly secured,
- cutting tools should be sharp.
These measures will help reduce your risk of injuries such as electrical shock, broken bones, cuts and bruises.
Use equipment that is ergonomically designed and sturdy. Wear protective gear such as gloves, knee pads, safety goggles, respirators, hearing protection, etc. To prevent sunburn, work in the shade, wear sunblock and a hat with a brim. If stinging insects are present, wear protective gear and insect repellant.
Be sure your footgear is adequate for the job at hand. Don’t climb that ladder in flip flops! Keep ergonomics in mind. When lifting, use your legs and lift close to your body. Bend at the knees so your legs can do the work. If you need to turn, especially when carrying something, turn your whole body by turning your feet first (not at the waist). Reduce repetitive motion injuries by taking breaks every half hour or so.
Make sure you keep well hydrated by drinking water every 15 – 30 minutes. Coffee, tea, milk, beer, etc. are not water and they will not adequately hydrate your body. Quit when you are tired! More injuries happen at the end of the day when you are fatigued. Quitting early saves time when compared with an injury or a trip to the emergency room.
Take care of yourself by putting safety first and preventing injuries.
If you are injured, stop what you are doing. Use first aid when appropriate. Did you get a blister or minor cut? Clean, cover and elevate it. If it is bleeding profusely, seek immediate medical attention. If you are stung by an insect, rinse the site, and apply a baking soda paste or plantain (a common weed) as a poultice. Sunburn is best treated by getting out of the sun. Minor sunburn can be treated by applying cool, not cold, water or aloe vera gel. If you get a painful sunburn that blisters or bleeds, seek medical attention. If you have a bruise or pulled muscle “RICE” it, that is rest, ice, compress and elevate. The same applies to strains and sprains.
Chiropractic care may be beneficial because it treats the musculoskeletal system. A properly aligned body is more resistant to injury.
Working on your home and garden should be fun and rewarding.