March 20, 2009

Spring cleaning injures almost 900,000

U.S. orthopedic surgeons urge spring cleaners to take proper precautions so they do not join the more than 870,000 injured annually doing chores at home.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeries said the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports spring cleaning accidents in 2007 included more than 532,000 injuries as result of ladder mishaps, 119,000 blamed on garden tools and 226,000 on lawn mowing.

Many spring cleaning injuries occur when people rush or do not follow the proper safety precautions, Dr. Danton Dungy, AAOS spokesman, said in a statement.

Dungy urges spring cleaners to:

-- Lift properly. Have your feet a shoulder-width apart, keep the back upright and bend at the knees while tightening the stomach muscles and then lifting with leg muscles. Don't lift heavy or awkward objects alone.

-- Reach properly. Use a step stool, not furniture. Don't put ladders on uneven, soft or wet surfaces. The belly button should not go beyond the sides of the ladder.

-- Garden wisely. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions. Wear gloves. Read and follow label directions. Keep chemicals out of reach of children or pets. Take frequent breaks. Replenish fluids to prevent dehydration. Seek emergency care for chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack.