Out With The Old, In with the New: Spring Cleaning Safety

March 8, 2016

First Stop Health

Spring cleaning is a major phenomenon in the northern hemisphere. Closets are emptied, garages and attics purged, maybe even a floorboard scrub is thrown in––and people all around this half of the world are doing it around the same time.

Some just clear out the junk that has piled up in their bedroom closet.

...and some take it a little more seriously by holding garage sales and getting rid of half of their belongings!

Enter Valencia, Spain, where Las Fallas is held annually in the spring. It is a festival where paper-mache effigies are burned, remembering a time when anything not wanted was thrown into the streets and burned. I think we can all agree spring cleaning would be more fun if there was a giant fire, but we make due with some cleaning supplies and a trip to Goodwill.

And though we may not have a fire going in the front yard, we can still get injured when spring cleaning. Below, we assembled a list of our tips to staying safe this season (including when telemedicine will be your lifeline):

Ditch the Flip Flops

This type of warm-weather footwear was once only popular on the beach––but today, flip flops have become a wardrobe staple, even when there’s no sand in sight. If you frequently bare your toes in sandals like this, there’s a good chance you’ll be doing so as you spring clean.

It might feel great after a long winter, but flip flops are actually extremely dangerous! Medical research shows they sent nearly 25,000 people to the E.R. last year, and flip flops can cause serious back, knee, foot, and ankle pain.

If you want to avoid tripping on the deck or wobbling off of a stepstool, we highly suggest choosing sturdy tennis shoes for your spring cleaning spree.

Be Smart With Your Ladders

When you need to clean up the cobwebs, chances are you’ll need a ladder to help. There are many parts of our homes, like top shelves, high cabinets, and cluttered gutters, that need a good scrub at least once a year. 

To make sure you don’t topple, secure the ladder’s lock in the center––making sure it’s on sturdy ground, too. Don’t stand on the highest rung (even if you’re tempted), and keep one hand free to balance yourself. Don’t try to place things on all of the rungs just so you can save a trip or two up and down. It can make the ladder unstable, not to mention trip you up on the way down. Head down the ladder slowly; a fall from a ladder could result in bumps, bruises or even more serious fractures.

Handle Chemicals Safely

You might expect being scratched by tree branches as you trim the hedges, or stubbing a toe. But don’t underestimate the serious harm that cleaning agents and chemicals can do. Ammonia can burn your skin, dish washing detergent could poison children and pets, and even air fresheners can damage your sense of smell if you get too close.

To avoid any of these situations, wear gloves and a mask while handling any type of chemical (even “green” ones). Read the directions thoroughly to make sure you’re using and storing them correctly, and dilute chemicals appropriately. Avoid all contact with eyes, mouth, ears and skin to make sure your spring cleaning session isn’t followed by weeks of an itchy rash.

Watch Out When Lifting or Reaching

Nobody wants to share the story of how they hurt their back when trying to move a couch solo. Be smart! Ask for help from family or neighbors, and don’t take on more than you can handle. It may take a few days to get your sibling over to help move the living room furniture––but you can fill that time with other tasks better done by yourself.

When you do move large furnishings, lift with your legs and take your time around corners and stairs. Clear a path before you walk to make sure no toys or hazards lie right in your way.

Telemedicine Companies Have Your Back

Even if you can’t scheme a friend or one of your kids into some of this seasonal dirty work, your telemedicine benefit will be here if you stumble. 

We've had calls from people who got a chemical in the eye or were using a wood chipper and got a rash and are wondering whether they need to go straight to the E.R. If this happens to you, call us right away. Make us your first stop to ensure you get a professional opinion on that swollen ankle or itchy skin before spending time in the ER or urgent care.

We can determine if you need to seek immediate treatment in an emergency room, or if you just need some time to rest. This could save you time and hundreds of dollars without compromising your safety!

Out With the Old, In With the New

While you’re cleaning out the clutter in your life, clean out those old habits, too. Make us your first stop for any non-emergency health condition to save time and money. Telemedicine will give you access to a physician who can diagnose a pulled muscle, a rash on the arm, and every oops in between.

Originally published Mar 8, 2016 1:00:00 PM.