Avoiding lawnmower injuries
Q: We bought a new house with a nice front and back yards. My husband is excited about cutting the lawn and is off buying a new push mower. I don’t want him cutting off his foot. Should I be concerned? —
Abigail N., Catskill, New York
A: No and yes. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, since their federal safety standards for power mowers were instituted back in 1982, the number of annual lawn mower injuries has been reduced by half. However, even though lawn mowers are much safer now (make sure your husband buys one that says “Meets CPSC blade safety requirements”), injuries still happen.
A new study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that lawn mower injuries continue to send more than 80,000 Americans to the emergency department every year.
The most common type of lawn mower-inflicted injury is, of course, laceration. So remember:
■ The American Society for Surgery of the Hand suggests wearing gloves, goggles and hearing protection when you mow. And always wear sturdy, closedtoed shoes.
■ Don’t cut the grass when wet. Wet clippings clog the blades and the discharge chute, and that’s typically when hands reach in.
■ Clear the yard of potential flying objects, such as branches, stones and other debris before you mow.
The No. 2 cause of mower moaning? Muscle sprain or strain. So, make sure the mower stays hydrated, maybe do runner’s stretches before mowing, and take a break every 20 to
30 minutes. Not being fatigued will reduce your chance of other injuries, too.
Whenever you mow, wear long pants tucked into your socks, and spray them with DEET to ward off tick and mosquito bites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that disease cases from insect bites increased from more than 27,000 in 2014, to
96,075 in 2016.