Brain injuries are often preventable

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March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Brain injuries were listed as a contributing cause of nearly 1,500 Michigan deaths in 2017, a statistic made even more significant when some traumatic and acquired brain injuries are preventable.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging residents to learn ways to prevent brain injuries.

Falls, motor vehicle accidents and sports-related trauma are leading causes of traumatic brain injuries. The MDHHS encourages people to learn about injury prevention strategies to keep themselves and their families safe.

There are two classifications of brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.

Acquired brain injury could be a traumatic brain injury or brought about by medical issues like a stroke.

“Prevention strategies can greatly reduce the risk for traumatic brain injuries and death,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “This can include removing hazards in and around the home such as rugs and clutter in walkways, keeping sports safe by wearing protective gear including helmets, and always wearing a seat belt while in a vehicle.”

Observable signs of traumatic brain injury include:

  • Appearing dazed or stunned
  • Forgetting instructions
  • Moving clumsily
  • Answering questions slowly
  • Losing consciousness
  • Showing mood, behavior or personality changes
  • Being unable to recall events prior to or after a fall or a hit

In 2017, 11,585 people in Michigan were hospitalized for traumatic brain injuries.

Nationally the cost of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to traumatic brain injuries, either alone or with other injuries, exceeds $76.5 billion every year.

TraumaticBrainInjury.com recommended the following steps to help prevent injuries:

  • Always wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle.
  • Use an appropriate child safety seat or a booster.
  • Always wear a helmet when on a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, snowmobile and other open unrestrained vehicles.
  • Wear a helmet when participating in contact sports, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding, skating and skateboarding.
  • Wear a helmet when horseback riding.

Fall Prevention Methods:

  • Use the rails on stairways.
  • Provide adequate lighting, especially on stairs for people with poor vision or who have difficulty walking.
  • Place bars on windows to prevent children from falling.
  • Do not place obstacles in walking pathways.

Gun Safety:

  • Keep guns locked in a cabinet.
  • Store guns unloaded.
  • Store ammunition apart from guns.

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Tags: brain injury

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