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Safety Tips for You, Your Family and Your Home

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June is National Safety Month. What exactly is National Safety Month? Well, it’s a time to focus awareness to help reduce the chance for injuries. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, injuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages and are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44. The good news is everyone can get involved to help prevent injuries

This month we encourage you to learn more about important safety issues like prescription painkiller abuse, transportation safety, emergency preparedness, and slips, trips and falls. You can make a difference. Find out ways to help reduce the risk of these safety issues.

Prescription medicine safety

Prescription painkiller overdoses are a growing problem in the United States, especially among women. About 18 women die every day from a prescription painkiller overdose – more than 4 times as many in 1999.

Safety Tips:
  • Whenever you go to your doctor, bring a list or a bag with ALL your medicines to the doctor’s office, pharmacy or hospital including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements that you use. Remind your doctor and pharmacist of any allergic reactions to medications.
  • If you are prescribed a new medicine, ask if it’s safe to use with your other medications.
  • Double-check your medicine to make sure it is what your doctor prescribed or, if you’re refilling a prescription, check to make sure it’s the same medicine as before. If something seems wrong, ask the pharmacist to double-check it.
  • Check the expiration date on your medications. If they are out of date, get rid of them safely. Read more at: http://1.usa.gov/1lcrk7y
  • 1 in 20 people have used prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons. The number of deaths is now greater than those of deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. Enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around the clock for a month. You can make a difference by using prescription painkillers only as directed by a health care provider. Do not sell or share the medication with others to help prevent misuse and abuse. Store prescription painkillers in a secure place and dispose of them properly. Get help for substance abuse problems, if needed (1-800-662-HELP). Pay attention for these signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse.
Transportation safety 

Distracted driving, like texting or eating, increases your chance of crashing. Almost 1 in 5 crashes (17%) that injured someone involved distracted driving. Ten percent of all drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. In any given daylight moment across the United States, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 MPH, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field – blindfolded.

Safety Tips:
  • The phone call or text message can wait. Put your phone down while driving.
  • Keep out distractions like eating, changing the radio, etc. If you need to do one of these things, pull over so you and your passengers will arrive at your destination safely.

Riding bikes is a great way to spend time with your family and be active together. If you have kids, teach them to bike safely right from the start. A bike crash could send you to the emergency room. But the good news is that many bike injuries can be prevented.

Safety Tips:
  • Ride a bike that’s the right size for you.
  • Check the brakes before you ride.
  • Always wear a bike helmet that fits correctly.
  • Wear bright colors and reflective tape.
  • Ride in the same direction as cars and follow the rules of the road.
  • If possible, ride on a bike path that’s separate from cars.
  • Stay alert!
Preventing slips, trips and falls

One in 3 adults age 65 or older falls each year. Many falls lead to broken bones and other health problems. Falls are often due to hazards that are easy to overlook but easy to fix. Use this checklist to help you find and fix those hazards in your home.

Safety Tips:
  • Get active. Staying active can help you feel better, improve your balance and make your legs stronger.
  • Improve your balance. Exercises that improve your balance can help prevent falls. For example, tai chi is a Chinese mind-body exercise that involves moving slowly and gently. Check with your local senior or community center for exercise classes that can help your balance.
  • Make your legs stronger. Do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. These include lifting weights or using resistance bands (long rubber strips that stretch).
First aid and emergency preparedness

It’s important to know basic first aid and be prepared for any emergency. Write down the poison control number (1-800-222-1222) and keep it next to your home phone. Add it to your cell phone, too. Take a local first aid class and learn CPR.  Make emergency plans for you and your family in case of a fire or other home emergency.

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