Fallback | 2022-10-17 | Safety+Health

For some people, autumn road trips mean viewing spectacular foliage and picking apples. For others, it’s back-to-school time. Before you indulge in all the goodness that fall has to offer (apple cider donuts!), take a moment to read through a few tips to stay injury-free all season long.

Falling leaves – you shouldn’t

Falling leaves are one of the clearest signs of autumn. It also means it’s time for the annual (and arduous) task of collecting and disposing of them.

Dr. Brad Uren is an emergency room physician at the University of Michigan Hospital and an assistant professor at the school. Hours said you should first ask yourself if you want to endure the strain of raking leaves — as well as related chores like climbing a ladder to get leaves out of gutters. Would it be better to pay a professional to do the job?

Hiring a professional can save you from one of the most common ailments Hours encounters during the fall season: back pain among homeowners who don’t consider the physical stress that comes from hours of yard work. If you’re determined to tackle the leaves yourself, Uren said alternative cleanup methods can help, such as using a leaf blower to avoid bending or stooping at an awkward angle.

Make sure your tools and equipment are in good working order. Hours said he’s treated people who cut themselves trying to pull leaves off old rakes with jagged edges. He recommends wearing gloves to protect your hands and making sure your footwear is appropriate to prevent slips and falls.

Will you be using a ladder to clean your gutters or decorate for the upcoming holiday season? Please take a moment to read and follow the instructions on the ladder. Hours said injuries often occur when people step higher than the recommended level or fail to ensure the bottom of the ladder is level and secure.

It’s the season to sneeze

Not only leaves can cause problems in the fall. Pollen from weeds — especially ragweed — can make allergies worse, said Sanaz Eftekhari, director of corporate affairs and spokesperson for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The AAFA recommends determining your exact allergy or allergies with help from a doctor.

Other suggestions from the foundation:

  • Because pollen is microscopic and can stick to just about anything, wash yourself as often as possible and shower every night to remove any grains you may have brought into the house.
  • Wear sunglasses or a hat outside to keep pollen off your face and hair.
  • Make it a habit to take off your shoes when you enter the house.
  • If you’ve been outside, change before going to your bedroom.
  • Sweep up any pets that have been outside.
  • If you’re home on a pollen-heavy day, keep the windows closed and use air conditioning, preferably one with a HEPA filter.

Stay safe on the road

Fall is the perfect time for road trips to see the beauty of the changing colors, but nature can present hazards in both plant and animal form.

Wet leaves can be particularly dangerous to motorists, said Michael Calkins, manager of technical services for road safety organization AAA.

Calkins says people should slow down a bit during the fall season, especially if the route is more rural.

“[Wet leaves] are very dangerous,” Calkins said. “Not quite at the level of ice, but wet leaves are extremely slippery.”

Even as the autumn days get shorter, it starts to get dark earlier outside. Then you have a greater chance of glare from the sun behind the wheel. Calkins recommends that you “see and be seen” by turning on your headlights sooner rather than later.

“Even if it doesn’t help you see, it helps other people see you, especially someone driving into the sun,” he said.

Fallback | 2022-10-17 | Safety+Health

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