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The 5 most preventable injuries in BC

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DH Vancouver Staff Nov 06, 2015 6:45 am

Did you know more than 240,000 Canadians die or are seriously injured each year, and a further 3.5 million go to emergency rooms as a result of preventable injuries? And it costs a whopping $26 billion a year to treat these victims of preventable injuries within our medical system. Twenty-six billion dollars! Think about what that money could be better used for: cancer research, helping the homeless and feeding the needy. Just to name three.

The worst part is that these injuries are all preventable, and could otherwise not happen if we paid a little more attention. We often think that injuries like being hit by a car won’t happen to us, but with hundreds of thousands of cars in the Vancouver area alone, the probability of being hit by a car increases significantly. This is just one example of a preventable incident.

Check out these numbers and learn a bit more about the most preventable (and deadly) injuries that happen all over Canada on a daily basis.

  • 95% are preventable and predictable
  • More children die from preventable injuries than any other reason
  • 343 Canadians have a preventable injury every hour of every day
  • Preventable injuries are the number one killer of Canadians from birth to 44 years of age

Serious injuries could happen to you, a friend or a family member. Pay attention. Be smart. And prevent the preventable. Here are the top five preventable injuries that happen in British Columbia.

Falls

Preventable falls happen when you climb a piece of furniture to change a lightbulb in your living room instead of using a proper ladder, or when you fall down the stairs after someone left the laundry basket or a toy on one of the steps. These are so obviously preventable that if you were watching a movie you’d be screaming at the actors to watch out.

Between 2001 and 2011, 4,405 people in BC died as a result of preventable falls. That’s enough people to fill 13 Canada Line trains.

Transport-related injuries

Walking, cycling, driving, skateboarding, rollerblading. All ways you can get a transport-related injury. And most of these are preventable. More than 4,200 deaths in the past 10 years in BC have been as a result of preventable crashes.

Riding your bicycle during rush hour definitely seems like the best way to go. No parking, zipping through lanes and not having to stop with traffic since you can just slide between cars. Seems innocent enough. But there are risks for those who make poor decisions. Drivers aren’t expecting a bicycle to pass between cars, so signaling when riding is just as important. Also beware riding next to parked cars, because drivers can and do open their doors without checking for cyclists. And remember, it’s BC law to wear helmets when cycling.

Being distracted behind the wheel is another epidemic. If you get a text or call, or if you’re busy looking for something in your bag, you could cause a preventable crash. Be thoughtful when driving and pay attention to the road, and road alone. Everything else can wait. And if it can’t, then pull over safely. Save the multitasking for when you’re not driving.

Unintentional poisoning

We aren’t talking about ingesting rat poison, or anything like that. We’re talking about something you’ve probably never realized could actually poison you. Mixing or improperly measuring medications.

Did you know that for each car that crosses the Lion’s Gate Bridge each hour of the day, someone died of unintentional poisoning in the last 10 years? And if that doesn’t sound like a lot, it is. There were 12,843 people who were poisoned in BC between 2001 and 2010 as a result of mixing medications they thought were otherwise harmless. Speak with your doctor and pharmacist and be sure to let them know about ALL the medications you are taking, including any vitamins and natural supplements.

More facts:

  • Unintentional poisoning is the fourth leading cause of injury in Canada
  • Cough, cold, pain and fever medications are the most common medications behind child poisonings
  • Preventable overdoses are most often caused by mixing medications with acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Drowning

No one ever expects to drown.  No one ever expects to have their boat hit a rock and capsize. No one ever expects to drown in the pool in their own backyard. But it happens. And it happens a lot. Every year, over 350 Canadians drown as a result of preventable incidents, 44 each year in BC alone.

Living near the Pacific Ocean means we are some of the most fortunate Canadians. We have long incredible summers, and we are often found on lakes or the ocean swimming and boating. Lifejackets save lives. And when you’re on a boat, whether it’s a small kayak, a paddleboat or whether it’s a larger boat, yacht or ship,make sure to wear your lifejacket. Because over 79% of those who drowned while out boating weren’t. Seriously?

Burns

Boiling pasta, cooking tomato sauce, and the phone rings. We aren’t paying attention. And suddenly, “OUCH!” Burns can happen that quickly and that unexpectedly. But they are still preventable.

But burns don’t just occur in the kitchen. Forgetting to put out a candle is another easy way to start a fire. Or falling asleep with a cigarette (or cigar) in your mouth or hand. You can also easily get burned while barbecuing or building a campfire. Burns can happen anywhere at any time and rather quickly. There are so many preventable ways to get burned, be smart about it.

Not to me…

You think preventable injuries like drowning, burning or falling won’t happen to you? Check out these numbers and learn a bit more about the most preventable (and deadly) injuries that happen all over Canada on a daily basis.

  • 95% are preventable and predictable
  • More children die from preventable injuries than any other reason
  • 427 Canadians have a preventable injury every hour of every day
  • Preventable injuries are the number one killer of Canadians from birth to 44 years of age
  • In BC alone, there is 1 death from preventable injury every 4 hours and 24 minutes

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DH Vancouver Staff
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