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June 18, 2024

Navigating the hazards of yard work

IU Health Bloomington Hospital

Navigating the hazards of yard work

Yard work can be an enjoyable way to be active while transforming your outdoor space into something you’re proud of. It can also be an irritating necessity when the grass is at that point where you should probably mow, but you’d rather not have to go out in the hot summer sun.

Whatever your relationship with yard work, remember to take precautions so you don’t end up having to take a trip to the Emergency department or Urgent Care office.

Robert Adams, DO

“We’ve seen yard work injuries start to increase as the weather has warmed up,” says Robert Adams, DO, IU Health Bloomington Emergency Services provider and Acute Care Service Line medical executive. “Mostly adults, but we tend to see all ages come in for a variety of injuries related to outdoor chores.”

Lower-acuity issues include sunburns and scrapes, but this team also sees high-acuity concerns like amputations and severe burns.

Carmen Pike

“Some of the most severe injuries we see tend to come from lawnmowers and people using gasoline to burn brush piles,” says Carmen Pike, IU Health Bloomington Emergency Services clinical practice manager.

The two emergency experts suggest individuals help protect themselves by following some simple steps:

  • Use extreme caution when mowing on uneven surfaces such as hillsides.
  • Wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, ear protection, closed-toe shoes and pants when mowing.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages while operating any equipment or burning brush.
  • Do not attempt to remove anything stuck in the blades while the mower is running.
  • Have a water hose or bucket of water near any fires.
  • Supervise all fires and put them out completely before leaving the area.
  • Be mindful of small children and pets.

Additional tips for protecting yourself when working outdoors include:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Using sunscreen even when it’s cloudy
  • Utilizing proper body mechanics
  • Being safe when using tools
  • Watching out for bee and wasp nests

“You can reduce the risk for major and minor injuries by being prepared and aware of your surroundings,” says Pike.

“Typically, our patients get injured when they’re in a hurry or not paying attention to what they’re doing,” Adams adds. “We’ve all been there, and it’s important to remember that your safety is more important than saving a few minutes on the lawn work.”

While the IU Health Bloomington Emergency department team is always ready to help individuals with their injuries, the IU Health Urgent Care teams in Bloomington are also available to assist with those less-acute issues.

By choosing the healthcare option that best fits your needs, you can help save Emergency department resources for those who truly need them while potentially saving yourself time and money. Check out the flyer below to learn more.

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Robert T. Adams, DO

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