The change of season also affects doctor offices and emergency rooms where typical summer injuries such as injuries related to water activities or burns from BBQ are slowing down and autumn injuries are increasing.
While in the city most people do not have a private yard, most people living in Upstate New York or in New York City suburbs ares starting to rake leaves around their house. While raking leaves might be perceived as a fun autumnal activity it can also lead to serious injuries. In the US 76,000 people are injured every year while raking leaves or using manual garden tools related to this activity. Many of these injuries include back strains or wrist strains due to the repetitive movements of raking.
Preventing raking injuries
- Warming up and stretching the body before before raking the leaves might help prevent injuries. Trunk rotations as well as shoulder and wrist stretch are recommended.
- Debris can be a cause of injuries while raking. Properly removing sticks and other debris before raking may prevent injuries as well.
- Blisters are also common when raking and wearing protective gloves is recommended.
- Wearing appropriate shoes that are skid- resistant is a good way to prevent slip and fall injuries.
- Doctors also recommend to shift weight with the legs to avoid twisting motion. Throwing leaves over the shoulder or raking away instead of toward yourself are both recipes for injuries as well. Back injuries are among the most common during leaves raking activities. Bending the knees instead of bending over is the best way to prevent back strain. Also avoid raking humid or wet leaves as they become much heavier.
- Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated and if your heart is fragile monitor sign of chest pain or short breath to prevent a stroke.
- Additionally if you decide to use electrical equipment to clean the yard, keep in mind that every year in the US more than 4,000 people are visiting the emergency room after being injured by leaf blowers, mulchers and grinders. Common injuries include electrocution, receiving projectiles in the eye, hearing damage and breathing problems.
Picture of leaves raking activity: courtesy of Wikimedia