NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — With spring right around the corner we find ourselves bursting with excitement at the thought of warmer weather and fresh air.
While you might realize that sports injuries increase during spring and summer months, you may not know cleaning-related injuries increase as well. Before you begin cleaning and organizing, take some time to think about your processes and how to avoid un-necessary injury.
The top five injuries related to cleaning are sprains, eye irritations, breathing issues, skin reactions, and cuts or abrasions. People from Nellis AFB report at least one of these injuries per month.
According to the National Safety Council, falls account for 8.9 million annual trips to emergency rooms in the United States. You can easily find yourself in the emergency room with an injury by doing something as simple as falling on the floor while mopping.
Spring cleaning injuries are not just a worry for adults but for children as well. Greenandcleanmom.org estimates a total of 267 children under the age of 5 are seen in the emergency room across the United States for ingesting household cleaning products.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to stay safe while cleaning:
• Keep areas ventilated. Turn on fans and open windows when possible to keep fresh air flowing.
• Try non-toxic household cleaning products.
• Wear non slip shoes while cleaning in potential wet areas. For example, when mopping and washing your car.
• Wear latex gloves while using bleach and other harsh chemicals.
• Install childproof latches on cabinets where children can reach chemicals.
• Keep the number for poison control posted near the phone in case of emergency.
• Ensure your path of travel is clear while moving objects.
• Check your water temperature to prevent scalding from hot water.
• Wash your hands after using chemicals.
• Keep your hands away from your face while cleaning to prevent eye irritation.
• Push the vacuum in front of you, walking forward several steps, and then pulling back for several steps. Remember short strokes can potentially hurt your back.
• Avoid prolonged squatting.
• Try to avoid cleaning your floors on your hands and knees to keep strain off your knees and back.
• Know your limits. Don’t try to lift heavy objects on your own. It’s okay to ask for help.
• Wear sunscreen while cleaning outdoors.
• Lift with your legs while pulling weeds.
• Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use of ladders to prevent falls.
• Wear clothing that is appropriate for the task you are trying to complete. For example, wearing closed toe shoes while mowing the lawn.
• If you suspect an injury report it to your physician as soon as possible.
Taking a few precautions before you begin your spring cleaning this year could save you time, energy, and injury.