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How to Stay Safe and Avoid Brain Injury

Here are some of the major causes of head and brain injuries and some key strategies to prevent them.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Over half of all reported brain injuries are the result of an automobile accident. Trauma to the brain can occur during an automobile accident when the skull strikes an object like a steering wheel or a windshield. Whiplash can cause the brain to move around in the skull and that is a possible source of injury. The best prevention for a potential brain injury is a simple one: always use a seat belt while in a car or a truck.


Anytime you hit your head from falling there is cause for concern. Falling out of bed, slipping in the bath, falling down steps, and falling from ladders are the most common causes of traumatic brain injury overall. To avoid falls, wear rubber-soled shoes, walk on the grass when sidewalks are slick, keep rooms free of clutter, put skid-proof backs under rugs, use a non-skid bath mat in the shower or tub, and put grab bars on bathroom walls near the tub, shower, and toilet.

Exposure to Toxic and Hazardous Substances

Exposure to toxic and hazardous substances can happen both in the home and out in the world. While they can be undetectable, they can cause a brain injury just the same. If your home was built before 1987, there is a chance that lead-based paint was used. Have any peeling or chipped paint tested by an experienced company. Another source of exposure to toxic and hazardous substances is the workplace. Educate yourself on any chemicals you may be working with and the proper way to handle them.

Prescription Medication

A prescription that has been filled incorrectly by the pharmacy can lead to a brain injury. The wrong medication could cause internal bleeding within the skull or deny the brain oxygen. Talk to your pharmacist when receiving a new medication to make sure you have been given the correct pills and dosage. And when receiving refills make sure that the size, shape and color of pills is the same.

This article first appeared in the April 2015 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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