Spring Cleaning Has its Dangers

Follow these home and garden safety tips

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SATURDAY, March 29, 2003 (HealthDayNews) --The drudgery of springtime cleaning, yard work and repairs can be bad enough, but you don't need an injury on top of it all.

A number of those chores can be dangerous or even deadly if you don't take the proper precautions, warns the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

The AAOS offers these safety tips to help you stay safe while doing your spring home and yard work:

  • Warm up and stretch before you start your chores.
  • Use proper techniques when lifting, carrying and bending. When lifting objects, keep your feet shoulder width apart, bend at the knees and tighten you stomach muscles. Lift with your leg muscles as you stand up. Don't try to lift anything that is too heavy or is an awkward shape.
  • When you rake, don't twist your body. Use your legs to shift your weight and switch sides. Use a mop to clean floors instead of getting down on your hands and knees. When vacuuming, push the vacuum in front of you and walk in a long line, then pull back the same way. Pushing and pulling a vacuum in short strokes can hurt your back.
  • Be careful when using ladders to clean gutters, trim trees or to do other work. Proper ladder use reduces your risk of falling.
  • Lawn mowers and gardening tools can cause serious injury if not used properly or not kept in good repair. Have your lawnmower serviced every spring to ensure it's in good working order.
  • Garden and housecleaning chemicals can be hazardous. Read labels for proper use and wear protective clothing and gloves when you use chemicals. Proper storage is essential for all garden and household chemicals.

More information

You can find more about home and garden safety at the AAOS Web site.

SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, news release, March 2003

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