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5 Most Common Housecleaning Injuries


I recently had an injury to my Achilles tendon. It would have been a lot more glamorous if the injury had come while I was playing tennis or saving an animal in a tree. But my Achilles injury happened while I was cleaning. Although cleaning isn't always considered a dangerous job, we do need to watch out for these common housecleaning injuries.

1. Sprains

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Why Sprains Happen During Cleaning

Sprains are more likely to happen during intensive cleaning. Heavy lifting, sorting clutter and moving storage containers,and moving larger appliances or furniture are all times when sprains can happen. Sprains are also common when someone falls. Use caution when mopping or working with water in an area you are cleaning.

Avoid Sprains During Cleaning

To avoid sprains when cleaning, know your limits. Get help moving items that you can't move by yourself. Use wheeled devices to help you move items without overexerting yourself. If you know you'll be doing a lot of lifting and moving, stretch your body as you would before exercising. Be sure to use caution whenever water is in the area. Clean up spills quickly to prevent slipping and falling.

If a Sprain Does Happen...

If an accident does happen, use some basic first aid rules for sprains to treat the injury. Although this injury isn't likely to need emergency help, there are some tips that can help alleviate symptoms and restore function more quickly.

2. Skin Reactions

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Why Skin Reactions Happen When Cleaning

There are hundreds of cleaning supplies to choose when cleaning your home. Unfortunately some products on the market are capable of causing reactions when they come into contact with skin. Harsh chemicals may do a great job when scrubbing and scouring the house, but they can also scrub and scour your skin.

Avoid Reactions When Cleaning

Be sure you read the warnings on the back of any products you use in your home. There are usually instructions for what to do if the product comes in contact with your skin. Some products may recommend wearing gloves when using cleaning products. This is a good idea when using any types of chemicals. You'll also want to take care that products don't splash or drip onto your skin. Take care in how you store your cleaning supplies. Supplies that are haphazardly stored are more likely to spill or leak, which can cause unwanted contact with skin.

If Contact Does Happen...

Sometimes, despite your best preventative efforts, your skin may come into contact with cleaning supplies. If this happens, work quickly to follow instructions on the cleaning supplies. Usually this involves thoroughly rinsing the skin in water. If, after thoroughly rinsing, you are still concerned, you can contact your local poison control, doctor, or the manufacturer of the product for further instructions or information.


3. Eye Irritation

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Why Eye Irritation Occurs When Cleaning

We're usually intent when we are cleaning, trying to get grime and dirt off of the surfaces of our home. We're working with chemicals or solutions that are designed to pulverize dirt. Splashes, spills, and odors are destined to happen. Unfortunately, our eyes are sometimes directly in the path. Whether your cleaning supplies are gel, liquid, or powder, there is a very real chance that even limited contact can cause eye irritation. Eye irritations can also happen to those who suffer from allergies because of contact with dust.

Preventing Eye Irritation When Cleaning

Caution is the name of the game when working with cleaning supplies. Splashes and spills often happen when we are in a hurry. Take your time and recognize that painful mistakes can be avoided with a little extra effort. If you want to take extra precautions, use safety or shop goggles as an extra layer of protection. Be aware that even without physical contact between the cleaning supplies and your eyes, fumes and odors can cause eye irritation as well. Be sure to properly ventilate any area that you are working in. It's also a good idea to know the recommendations for treatment before an accident occurs, just in case. If you are an allergy sufferer, taking preventative medicine and limiting exposure to dust can help as well.

If Eye Irritation Does Occur

If an accident does happen and eye contact occurs, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions to treat your eyes. Most products recommend rinsing the eyes thoroughly with water but be sure to follow directions. If irritation is the result of fumes or odors, an eye rinse may be beneficial, as will ventilation or temporarily removing yourself from the area. If after an initial eye wash you have further concerns, you can contact local poison control, a doctor, or the manufacturer.

4. Cuts and Abrasions

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Why Cuts Happen When Cleaning

Accidental cuts happen when cleaning, although they might not be as common as some other dangers. A lot of cuts happen in the kitchen. Washing dishes is usually the reason behind a cut or abrasion. Between washing knives and other sharp objects, and slippery glass dishes, cuts are always a risk. Dusting can also be risky because of the potential for breaking objects accidentally.

How To Avoid Cuts When Cleaning

Use caution when working with sharp or breakable objects. During dishwashing, do not submerge knives in hot soapy water, since this makes it difficult to see the knives. Instead wash knives individually or use a soak of only hot water. The use of dishwashing gloves can also help provide an added layer of protection. This can be especially helpful when handling slippery glass dishes. Consider using a rubber mat in the bottom of your sinks to prevent accidental breakage there, as well.

If a Cut Does Happen...

Stay calm. Use emergency first aid treatment to clean and treat the wound. If the cut is deep or you have trouble stopping the bleeding, you may need to seek the help of a doctor.

5. Breathing Issues

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Why Breathing Issues Happen When Cleaning

Breathing issues while cleaning can happen for a few different reasons. Sometimes an issue with breathing happens because of overexertion. This may be more common in people who have breathing problems to begin with. Breathing issues can also happen when someone with allergies or asthma has been exposed to dust or other substances that trigger an attack. Finally breathing issues can happen when fumes or gasses from cleaners cause a reaction in someone.

Preventing Breathing Issues When Cleaning

To prevent breathing issues associated from overexertion, go at a reasonable pace. Cleaning, especially intensive chores, can be like exercising. If you aren't used to an intense workout, you won't be prepared for an intense cleaning session. Take breaks. For breathing issues associated with allergies or asthma, avoid the triggers. You may need to wear dust masks to prevent exposure to dust. Instead of using a dusting tool that may spread particles in the air, try a vacuum cleaner wand attachment that will actually suck the dust away from you. Or in extreme cases, there may be chores you'll have to leave to someone else. For breathing issues associated with fumes or gasses, avoid mixing any chemicals together, including cleaning supplies. Make sure any room you are working in is properly ventilated.

If Breathing Issues Happen...

If you do begin having a breathing issue, don't wait for it to get worse. Begin treatment immediately. The cause of your breathing difficulty will often determine what to do next. You may need to sit down, use an inhaler, or take medicine. Removing yourself from the area is almost always necessary. If a gas or fumes are to blame a call to poison control may be in order as well. For further treatment or questions, a doctor may be the best bet.

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