Accidents and injuries are a common fact of life; it doesn’t matter how careful we are, accidents can and do happen, whether that’s in the workplace, as the result of our lifestyle, or during a sporting or leisure activity. The most worrying thing about such accidents, though, is that seemingly minor injuries can sometimes turn into serious health complications later – whether that’s just days after the incident, or some years away. While it would be impossible to prevent all accidents, there are a number of things that we could all be doing to stay safe and reduce our risks of developing such health issues.
The common injuries with serious implications
Listed below are just a handful of the common injuries that could lead to serious health issues later in life; though not exhaustive, you should get an insight into the many ways that our body parts are interconnected. When it comes to accidents, no injury, however small, should ever be disregarded.
Slips, trips, and falls
Slips and trips are among the most common types of accidents to be had anywhere, including the workplace, home, and during exercise; one wrong move and we run the risk of straining or spraining a wrist or ankle, fracturing a bone, pulling a muscle, or aggravating an existing injury that may have begun to heal. Slips, trips, and falls can occur when we are tired and not concentrating, when we put too much pressure on our bodies, or because we are careless and not thinking about where we are going. It’s little wonder that such accidents are so common, when their causes are so diverse. Though many of the injuries sustained during slips, trips, and falls are easily treated, others are more complicated; deep tissue damage, joint instability and chronic pain, nerve damage, haemarthrosis, vascular and visceral injuries, and wound infection can all occur and cause problems after initial treatment.
The spinal injuries that can occur following a serious fall, a car accident, or sporting incident are always painful, but many people don’t realize the far-reaching effects that such an injury can have. Patients suffering from back and spinal cord injuries can go on to develop pneumonia, blood clots, bladder and bowel dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, pressure ulcers, gastrointestinal problems, and chronic pain, as well as paralysis. The nervous system is a complicated network via which various parts of the body communicate; disrupt just one element, and the effects can be devastating.
Head injuries are serious, and are usually treated as such. Whether you’ve fallen and banged your head during a workout, have been injured during a workplace incident, or have incurred a knock to the head at home, there’s every chance that you’ll be okay following the application of a cold compress or a routine checkup. However, it’s essential not to ignore the common complications that follow a head injury, including concussion, a brain stem injury, a secondary injury that could be masked by bruising or swelling, a blood clot, or bleeding around the brain. Not all head injuries will lead to such dramatic conditions, but each one should be treated as if it could; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Staying safe and preventing injuries
Here are just some of the ways that we could stay safe in a variety of situations.
Staying safe during exercise
When undertaking exercise, it’s essential that you’re properly prepared, that you warm up prior to any activity, and that you complete a series of stretches to cool down afterwards. Wearing the right clothing is also important, as it can prepare your body for exercise and protect it as the pressure on your joints and muscles intensifies. Compression clothing is an excellent idea for anyone who regularly exercises, as it can trap moisture, boost circulation, and keep muscles warm and supple. Start at the bottom and work your way up; from compression socks, which protect from heel to toe, to leggings, vests, and t-shirts, there are a variety of items that runners, cyclists, and fitness fanatics should be investing in. It’s also important to stay hydrated during all exercise, and to remember your body’s limits. If you have a previous injury, it’s always wise to seek advice from a doctor or physiotherapist prior to undertaking something new.
Preventing injuries at work
Some of the most common injuries, including those sustained during falls and trips, occur within the workplace; even relatively unassuming environments such as offices pose a threat to our health if we’re not taking care. While your employer has a general duty of care when it comes to health and safety, it’s also your responsibility to look out for hazards and protect your work colleagues. If you see a hazard, report it, or rectify the problem to the best of your ability if you’re within your comfort zone to do so. All wires and loose articles should be secured away from the floor, while lighting needs to be sufficient. Don’t ever attempt to lift an object unless you’ve been properly trained in the procedure, and always take care around electrical items, high shelves, and areas where spillages could be a risk. Finally, ensure that you’re seated correctly, and always be mindful of posture; your employer should have provided you with ergonomic furniture to ease your posture, but be mindful of taking breaks to stretch and move.
Safety in the home
You wouldn’t believe how many accidents can happen within the home, and how many have serious implications for our health. However, it’s relatively easy to protect yourself around the home, as long as you’re taking precautions and looking out for hazards. Ensure that all electrical appliances are in working order, never attempt to walk down the stairs while carrying a load that impedes your view, replace tired and worn carpets to reduce the trip hazard, and never stand on chairs as a means to access objects or change light bulbs. It’s also a good idea to tidy loose items, such as toys, away each evening to prevent anyone from slipping over, and to use a mat in your bath and shower.
While many accidents are unavoidable, the injuries that we could sustain at any time are often far more complicated than they first appear. It really does pay to be mindful of the situations we are putting ourselves in, and to take every preventive measure we can.