Spring cleaning? 7 tips to avoid injury

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For many of us, spring’s arrival means it’s time for a big cleaning binge. Cleaning may not sound especially dangerous, but injuries from household chores may be more common than you think.

Every year, thousands of people experience preventable injuries from home improvement and cleaning projects that seem simple and low-risk.

That’s why it’s so important to keep these seven safety tips in mind when you give your home a deep cleaning. Courtesy of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Academy of Family Physicians:

1. Warm up

Cleaning is a physical activity. That means it’s a smart idea to warm up before you reach for your mop, clean gutters, wash windows or rearrange heavy furniture. Stretch your arms, back, shoulders, knees and hips first.

2. Pace yourself

Rushing isn’t worth the injury. Know your limit so you won’t overdo it. Take frequent breaks—and stay hydrated too.

3. Lift correctly

When you pick up something, bend at your knees, not at your waist. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your back upright, and tighten your stomach muscles. If an object is too heavy or awkwardly shaped, find someone to lend a hand.

4. Don't take chances on counters

Use a sturdy step stool, not a countertop or furniture, when you need to reach high places.

5. Use ladders cautiously

Always put them on a firm, dry and level surface. And when you stand on one, take care not to reach too far to one side or too far overhead. As a point of reference, your belly button should never go beyond the sides of a ladder.

6. Take care with extension cords

Be sure they’re properly grounded. And to avoid trips and tumbles, don’t drape them across walkways.

7. Read up

The instructions on household cleaning products are there for a reason: to ensure you know how to use them safely. And to keep others in your household safe, always keep household cleaners out of the reach of kids and pets.

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