Holiday Fall Prevention, Alcohol-Free January

 My 12/16/2016 blog, Alcohol-Free January, Are You Up to the
Challenge, , introduced the 2017 edition of same.  A group of us did this in January 2016 and it worked. I got feedback from a number of athletes and I'll share the one I liked best with you.

Dear Doctor Post,
As an alcoholic in recovery-and Ironman triathlete-I am in total agreement with you as to how thirty-one days away from alcohol can be life-changing. Of course, it will be relatively easy for me, as I have been doing this for eight and a half years now, but, the truth of the matter is that if I decide to have a beer, that is tantamount to saying I am done with the sport of triathlon. And I just refuse to say that.

Ghent Lummis, University of South Florida, 2016


IRONMAN med tent in the making. Do your best not to be a visitor later in the day
Fall Prevention
Many common holiday activities can cause injuries that can make any festive season anything but jolly.  
For example, approximately 39,700 people were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries during the 2010 holiday season, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, more than 12,100 visits to emergency departments resulted from activities related to decorating for the holiday season. Sure each of these suggestions don't apply to everyone but for me the "use a step stool instead of furniture to stand on" hits home for sure.  I guess I'm in too much of a hurry to get the proper gear and will stand on whatever is close by.  I'll try to do better.

Fall Prevention

  • Do not drink and decorate. Save your celebratory drink for after the lights are up and illuminated.
  • Select the right ladder for the job. When working at low and medium heights, choose step stools or utility ladders. Extension ladders are ideal for use outdoors to reach high places, as when hanging items from the rooftop. The weight the ladder is supporting should never exceed its maximum load capacity.
  • Inspect ladders for loose screws, hinges, or rungs that may not have been fixed from last use. Clean off any mud or liquids that have accumulated on the ladder.
  • Properly set up the ladder on a firm, level surface. Watch for soft, muddy spots or uneven flooring, and never place a ladder on ground that is uneven. Remember the 1-to-4 rule: the bottom of the ladder should be 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet that the ladder rises.
  • Be careful when putting up holiday decorations, including lights and trees. Move materials with caution when on the ladder, and always position the ladder close to the work area, so you do not lose your balance and fall. Wear proper footwear with securely tied shoelaces.
  • Use a step stool instead of furniture to stand on when you need a few more inches to hang a wreath or picture.
  • Be mindful of any rearranged furniture and new decorations and make sure others in the house are familiar with the changes as well. Serious falls can happen when people trip over furniture placed in what used to be open space.
  • Ask for help when moving heavy or awkward items.
  • Minimize clutter and keep pathways clear of decorations, gift boxes, and other items that can trip you up.

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