Spring has sprung, and that can only mean one thing — it’s spring cleaning time! Open up your windows, unclutter that closet, pull out your spray bottles, and give your home a good scrub!
But don’t forget to be safe while doing so. In our urgent care clinics, we see accidents, injuries, and falls occurring from people doing everyday tasks, including cleaning the house. Performing simple tasks around your home is no time to overlook safety.
Here are four things you should do while spring cleaning to prevent some of the most common incidents we see in our clinic.
1. Maintain adequate airflow
Prevent: throat/lung irritation; headaches/migraines
Most commercial cleaning supplies create fumes. Using homemade cleaners may help — think vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda. (Just be careful not to mix bleach and ammonia, as they create toxic fumes when combined.) But whether you DIY your cleaner or not, it is always a wise move to open windows and turn on fans to keep fresh air flowing. If you are cleaning an area or object with a lot of dust, take the extra step of wearing a mask to help prevent irritation (this is especially important if you suffer from allergies!).
2. Protect your hands
Prevent: Skin irritation and rashes; chemical burns; cuts; infections
Those same homemade cleaners can also help protect your hands. Some commercial cleaners contain harsh ingredients that should not be in contact with skin for extended periods of time. Always wash your hands after coming into contact with a cleaning solution, or follow the instructions on the bottle regarding skin contact.
A better solution? Wear gloves. Rubber gloves will not only provide a barrier between you and the nasty dirt, germs, and grime you are cleaning, but will also keep chemicals off your hands and keep your hands from getting dry and cracked as you clean.
If you’re cleaning an area you can’t see well, thick rubber gloves will also provide an added layer of protection against something sharp or dirty that could potentially cut and infect you.
3. Respect heights
Prevent: falls; bumps and bruises
Spring cleaning often means getting those high and hard-to-reach places that you don’t clean on a daily basis. Ladder safety applies not just when you’re outside cleaning gutters, but also inside trying to clean a ceiling fan, reorganize dishes in a high cabinet, or reach the top shelf of a closet.
When you need to reach something high, use a proper step stool or ladder — don’t just drag over an unstable chair or other piece of furniture that’s not meant for climbing. When you’re up high, don’t lean! Get down and reposition your step stool instead. A good rule is that your belly button should not go beyond the sides of your ladder or stool.
4. Watch the heavy lifting
Prevent: pulled muscles; head and foot injuries
Whether you have to move the couch or pull the fridge away from the wall to clear out all those dust bunnies, exercise proper techniques so you don’t strain any muscles. Lift and push with your lower body instead of relying on your back and arm muscles.
Carrying heavy boxes, appliances, or objects? Make sure to wear proper, closed-toe shoes. Slippers, flip flops, and open-toe sandals aren’t safe and pose a slipping or tripping hazard. In addition, if you accidentally drop something heavy, you want your feet as protected as possible.
If you have to lift something heavy above your head — stop! A safety rule of thumb is not to lift anything heavy above the level of your shoulders. If there is no way to avoid it, find someone that can assist you, and make sure the object doesn’t have any loose pieces that can slide off.
Stay Safe this Spring
Please heed these simple tips to keep your spring cleaning activities safe and avoid an unexpected trip to your local urgent care clinic. Of course, if you need us, In and Out Express Care has four urgent care locations in Hampton Roads. We also provide primary care for individuals and families, serving children as young as two years old.
Happy cleaning, and stay safe!