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Expert Tips Can Head Off Head Injury

Helmets, guardrails and driving sober cut the risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 29, 2006 (HealthDay News) --Simple steps can help prevent severe head injuries, say experts at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

In 2005, about 1 million people were treated at U.S. hospital emergency rooms for head injuries that occurred in the home. Another 15,000 people were treated for motor vehicle-related head injuries, the AANS said. Winter sports were the cause of about 26,000 head injuries.

Many head injuries can be prevented by removing potential hazards from inside and outside of your home, by following driving safety rules, and by wearing proper sports safety gear.

The AANS offers the following tips for preventing head injuries

  • Remove all hazards in the home that may cause falls. Secure rugs and loose electrical cords, put away toys, use safety gates, and install window guards.
  • Remove ice and snow from walkways around your home.
  • Buy age-appropriate toys for your children, and throw them away when they break.
  • Frail and elderly people should have grab bars and handrails in their homes.
  • Always wear a seat belt when you're in a vehicle.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Never get into a vehicle operated by an impaired driver.
  • Buy and always wear sports helmets or other protective head gear approved by the ATSM.
  • Don't participate in sports if you're ill or feel very tired.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about head injuries.

SOURCE: American Association of Neurological Surgeons, news release, December 2006
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