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AKRON, Ohio, May 26, 2011– You’re walking downstairs with a load of laundry when the phone rings. You run to grab it and accidently trip over a dog toy on the last step. Down you go. This story is all too familiar to physicians and staff in the Emergency Department at Summa Akron City Hospital, where more individuals are treated for injuries from falls than car accidents.
According to the American Trauma Society, one out of three adults over the age of 65 falls each year, with falls being the leading cause of disability for those up to 40 years old. There were 2.2 million nonfatal injuries from falls in 2009 alone.
“Falls are a major public health problem, yet are also mostly preventable,” said Kindra Paxton, RN, BSN, injury prevention and trauma education coordinator for Summa Akron City Hospital. “Injuries from falls, such as lacerations, hip fracture or head trauma can make it hard to get around or live independently and increase the risk of early death. We hope that people will take the time to make small changes that can help them reduce their risk of falling.”
May is National Trauma Awareness Month, and the American Trauma Society suggests several tips to maximize individual safety:
- Check your prescriptions with your doctor to see which medications have side effects of dizziness, which can impair your vision and lead to falls.
- Make an appointment with your eye doctor once a year to check your vision.
- Consider putting a bell on your pet’s collar so you can be aware of when it is scampering around the house, decreasing your risk of tripping. Surprisingly, pets cause 86,000 falls each year.
- Be mindful of curbs on the street and cracks in the sidewalk.
- Make crucial modifications to your home by installing railings on your stairs and lights in dark areas. Remove slippery rugs or attach them to the floor with double-sided tape.
About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/summahealth and Twitter at www.twitter.com/summahealth.