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How to Prevent Common Unintended Injuries

How to Prevent Common Unintended Injuries

Accidents happen, and sometimes there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it. But many of the most common injuries can often be avoided with some simple steps for your safety and others.

Unintentional injuries are the third largest cause of death for men in America, so everyone needs to be safety-minded. You should know how to reduce the risk of household or workplace accidents and what to do if one happens.

Car Accidents

There are about six million auto accidents every year, from fender benders to deadly crashes. Fortunately, these numbers have been going down since the turn of the century because fewer people are drinking and driving. But there’s more we can do to prevent car accidents.

If you’re in a crash that isn’t serious enough to call an ambulance, you should still get checked out by your doctor or Urgent Care. Concussions, neck injuries, and soft tissue damage can happen even if you think you feel fine.

Reduce your risk of a car crash by:


The leading cause of death for people over 60 is falling. Falls can also cause severe long-term injuries at any age. Stairs, wet bathroom tile, uneven pavement, and ladders are all hazards, especially for seniors or people with mobility issues.

If you or someone near you falls, stay calm. If there’s no pain or obvious injury, try to get up using something solid to support you (if you can). Minor pain, swelling, or bruising (if you are able to move the area and put weight on it) can be iced and the specific body part elevated. You can also take an over-the-counter painkiller. For a more serious sprain or strain, consider a virtual visit to Urgent Care to help get it better assessed. If you think something’s broken or you’re in a lot of pain, go to the emergency room right away.

Reduce your risk of falls by:

  • Putting treads or rubber mats on slippery stairs or tile
  • Installing handrails in your bath and shower
  • Repairing pavement cracks or other damage to your floors or walkways
  • Making sure rugs are anti-slip proof
  • Never using a ladder if you’re dizzy, impaired, or alone

Poison or Overdose

Another common injury occurs through accidental overdose or poisoning. Carbon monoxide, toxic fumes from household cleaners, drinking household products, taking prescription meds incorrectly, or using illicit drugs can lead to serious illness or death.

Treating poisoning or overdose depends on the person’s physical state, age, and what exactly happened. For carbon monoxide-related incidents, always take the person to the ER for oxygen. Individuals who take opioids may be able to get a prescription for naloxone, which treats overdoses until more help can be found.

During moments of serious distress, such as loss of consciousness, trouble breathing, or seizures, call 911 immediately. For mild injuries, call Poison Help at 800-222-1222 or follow the instructions on the substance’s bottle to treat poisoning.

Reduce your risk of poisoning or overdose by:

  • Monitoring prescriptions taken by senior loved ones
  • Locking cleaning products away from children
  • Never running your car or using a grill in an enclosed space, like a garage
  • Installing a CO detector in your home
  • Never mixing household products, especially ones with bleach and ammonia, which can form deadly gases

Fires and Burns

There are about a third of a million U.S. household fires each year and about 1.2 million fires in the U.S. in general. Burns from these fires can range from very mild (like accidentally touching a hot pan) to fatal. Half of all household fires are related to cooking accidents.

Mild, first-degree burns that only affect the top layer of skin can be treated through simple first aid. Only use cool water (not ice or cold water) and bandage the injury with a non-stick sterile dressing. For more serious burns, or if the victim is a child or senior, make an Urgent Care visit. Likewise, if someone’s inhaled smoke but seems fine, keep a close eye on their health. But if they’re coughing, struggling to breathe, hoarse, or dizzy, take them to the ER as soon as possible.

Reduce your risk of fire and burn accidents by:

  • Never leaving an open flame unattended
  • Always using hot mitts to move pots or pans
  • Installing smoke detectors and changing the batteries every six months
  • Knowing how to put out a grease fire—always smother it, never throw water on it
  • Keeping a fire extinguisher (that everyone knows how to use) in the kitchen or near the grill
  • Getting chimneys cleaned of soot and other debris that has the ability to catch fire
  • Never using electric items with frayed or damaged cords

Even the most careful person can’t prevent every accident, so make sure you know the risks you face, how to avoid injuries, and what to do about them when they happen. Read more about our Urgent Care services on our blog or our Urgent Care page to know how we can help you get the care you need, when you need it. If you do need care, give us a call at 240-566-HERE or request an appointment online. Because your health shouldn’t wait.