Wellness Words July 2010

Wellness Words July 2010

HealthLink Littauer’s


Submitted by Carol Tomlinson RN BS

Community Health Educator


Ask Americans where they feel safest and most will say in their own homes. However, unintentional injuries in the home result in nearly 21 million medical visits each year, according to the Home Safety Council. Many home injuries are preventable. Some of the most serious include slips and falls, poisonings, fires and burns. “Just a few simple steps can dramatically reduce the dangers in most homes and may even make a life saving difference” said Meri-K Appy, President of the Home Safety Council.

The following are some steps you can take to minimize your risk of an accident in your home …

To Prevent Falls:

  • Install and use grab bars in the shower and tub area
  • Have bright lights over stairs and on landings
  • Use a small, sturdy ladder for climbing instead of a stool or furniture
  • Keep floors and stairs free from small scatter rugs or other potential tripping hazards

To Prevent Poisonings

  • Keep all cleaning agents in their original containers and do NOT mix them
  • Use medications only as directed and do NOT share or use another person’s medication even if you think it is the same as yours
  • Discard all outdated medications safely. Do NOT leave them in your medicine cabinet. Look for pharmaceutical drop off programs like the one at the Fulton County Solid Waste Department on August 14, 2010 or contact your pharmacist for ways to safely dispose of them.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near sleeping areas
  • Call the Poison Control Center @ 1-800-222-1222 if someone ingests poison

To Prevent Fires and Burns

  • Have working smoke alarms and hold fire drills
  • Stay near your stove when cooking, especially when frying
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from any combustible surface
  • If you smoke, smoke outside. Use deep ashtrays and put water in them before emptying them.
  • Only light candles if you are going to stay in the room. Blow the candle out if you are going to leave or are going to lay down to rest or sleep
  • Keep your hot water at or below 110 degrees F

To Prevent Choking

  • See your dentist annually and keep teeth in good repair
  • Make sure dentures fit snugly and use a dental adhesive if needed
  • Take small bites and chew slowly
  • Eat away from distractions such as TV whenever possible


For more information on home safety, contact your county Office For Aging or Public Health department, or call HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at www.nlh.org, or visit our wellness center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.