Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness: How to Prevent it.
Traumatic brain injury (or TBI) awareness is critical as traumatic brain injuries are the leading killer of Canadians under the age of 40 – this equals 11,000 Canadian deaths per year. If TBI awareness were improved, more traumatic brain injuries could be prevented.
Traumatic brain injury can be mild to severe but even mild TBIs can affect a person for a prolonged period of time. Traumatic brain injuries are also very prevalent. Including concussions, 587,025 Canadians suffer a brain injury each year.
Not only are TBIs costly to the individual, but they are also costly to the Canadian society at large as each severe brain injury costs the medical system over $400,000 at the time of injury. Costs remain approximately the same each year following the incident due to indirect expenses and follow-up treatment. Not only that, but after one brain injury, you are at three times greater risk for a second brain injury and eight times greater risk for other bodily injuries.
Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries
The most common cause of TBIs are car accidents. For that reason, automobile safety is critical in preventing traumatic brain injuries. According to the Mayo Clinic, to prevent TBIs, do the following:
- Always wear a seatbelt when riding in a car – even for short distances.
- Drive in an automobile with airbags.
- Children should always be in the back seat and a car seat or booster seat appropriate to their weight should be used.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs – including prescription drugs.
Young males are twice as likely as females to sustain a brain injury, likely due to their participation in more dangerous sports and physical activities. To prevent traumatic brain injuries make sure to wear helmets during sports and physical activities like:
- Contact sports and baseball
Gun safety can also contribute to preventing traumatic brain injuries. Always:
- Keep guns locked in a cabinet.
- Store firearms unloaded.
- Store ammunition away from firearms.
Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries in the Elderly
Preventing falls can also prevent TBIs. These tips are particularly useful for older adults:
- Mount and use handrails in places like bathrooms and stairwells.
- Put non-stick mats in the bath or shower.
- Secure or remove area rugs.
- Improve lighting in and outside the home.
- Keep stairs and floors clutter-free.
- Get regular vision checkups.
- Get regular exercise.
- Sit on safe stools.
Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries in Children
Injury is the leading killer of Canadian children and youth and 50% of these deaths are due to traumatic brain injury. To prevent traumatic brain injuries in children, a few special steps should be taken:
- Install safety gates at the top of stairwells.
- Keep stairs clear of clutter.
- Install window guards.
- Put a non-stick mat in the bathtub or shower.
- Use playgrounds that have shock-absorbent materials on the ground.
- Secure area rugs.
- Don’t let children play on fire escapes or balconies.
“This article was written by award-winning mental health writer and speaker, Natasha Tracy.”