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The Brain Injury Association of America recognizes March as National Brain Injury Awareness Month due to the major impact brain injuries can have on individuals and their families. There are several brain injuries categories, including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and acquired brain injury (ABI). TBI results in an alteration in brain function or other evidence of brain pathology caused by a blow or other external traumatic force. Common causes of TBI include falls, motor vehicle collisions, violence, sports injuries, blast or combat injuries.
Brain injuries can be prevented and their effects mitigated through recognition, response, and recovery. There are many simple ways to reduce the chance of sustaining a head injury, which include:
1. Buckling your child in the car using a size and age-appropriate child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt.
2. Wearing a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
3. Never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
4. Wearing a helmet and making sure your children wear helmets while bicycling and playing contact sports
5. Making living areas safer for seniors through home modifications, such as:
a. Removing tripping hazards such as throw rugs and clutter in walkways;
b. Using nonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors;
c. Installing grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower, and handrails on both sides of stairways;
6. Making living areas safer for children by installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows, and using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.
7. Making sure the surface on your child's playground is made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood mulch or sand.
8. Supervise children around water, including pools, lakes and the bathtub. Make sure children wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water, even if they know how to swim.
Seek medical attention if you are experiencing these brain injury warning signs:
Excessive drowsiness Severe Headache Weakness in your arms or legs Dizziness or loss of vision Slurred speech Loss of consciousness or confusion Vomiting or nausea Numbness
For more information, visit: http://www.brainfacts.org/diseases-disorders/injury/ or http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/
Indiana Special Emphasis on TBI can be accessed here: http://www.in.gov/isdh/25396.htm
Winter provides new challenges in preventing injuries. Fires in the home are more common because of the increase in cooking activities and heating fires, holiday decorations, and winter storms. Below are some resources and tips to keep your family safe this winter.
Winter Home Safety
Holiday Kids Safety
Summer is a great time to engage in outdoors activities such as swimming, biking, playing outside, and grilling, but it is also a time when accidents and injuries occur. By taking simple, common-sense precautions, you can have fun and stay safe at the same time.
Playground and Bike Safety
Injury Prevention Epidemiologist, Division of Trauma and Injury Prevention