The famous author, Chimamanda Adichie recently shared her experience when she had a fall.
People fall every day and sometimes these cause serious injury. They are among the most common domestic accidents especially for older people. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 adults over 65 years who live at home will suffer a fall at least once annually.
A fall can result in minor, or even major injuries if not handled properly.
So, we have put together a few tips to help you manage a fall when it happens.
- Remain Calm
The first thing you instinctively want to do when you suffer a fall is stand up. However, you should remain on the ground and stay calm. Deep, slow breaths can help in calming you. Staying calm is necessary to avoid hurting yourself more through rushed movements.
- Assess The Damage
Do this in the first few moments after experiencing a fall. Take stock of your body and note where you are feeling pain, or if there is any bleeding. This process will guide you in attempting to stand up.
- Call For Help
If you notice that you are seriously hurt, you should call for help. Make a phone call to someone close by if you are home alone. While waiting for help to arrive, you need to stay warm. You can do this by keeping your body moving or using a duvet if one is within arm’s length.
Move away from stone floors or tiles, to warmer surfaces like rugs to maintain your body warmth.
- Use Ice
You should place ice on swellings for about 10 to 20 minutes. Especially parts of your body that took the brunt of the fall. The ice will help to reduce the pain and swelling.
- Teach Your Children How To Get Help
If you are usually home with your children, you should teach them how to get help. Your child is never too small to learn how to help. You can teach them to use the phone to call your spouse or other emergency contact.
For example, from Chimamanda’s account, her daughter called her husband, and this was instrumental to her getting help fast.
- See A Doctor
Sometimes, the injury from a fall may take a while to manifest. A fall can lead to a concussion, fainting, or even cause bleeding in your brain. You should see a doctor after a fall, even if you feel fine. Especially one where you hit your head hard.
It is always better to find out that there is nothing wrong than to suffer from an illness that could have been averted if you got help earlier.
- Prevent Future Falls
Make your home fall-proof. You can do this by
- Using flooring surfaces that have a good grip
- Using non-skid mats or carpets in the bathroom
- Placing grab bars with non-slip grips in toilets and bathrooms.
- Ensuring that every part of your home is well lit
- Securing all carpets and rugs firmly to the ground.
- Laying out your house well to create clear paths for walking
- Placing handrails on both sides of any stairs at home.
Also, avoid leaning to reach an object that is too high. Instead, ask for assistance or use a step stool, and have someone close by.
By Dr.Okonkwor Oyor C.