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How can I protect myself in a slip and fall?

No one wants to experience a fall, but it can happen to anyone. Older people are particularly susceptible to falls, due to many physiological and cognitive changes that can come with age. A quarter of adults older than 65 experience a fall every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 20% of those falls will result in serious injury. Strangely, adults aged 50-60 experience even more falls, due to their increased activity over those who are older than them.

Though a fall can happen to anyone, there are times when someone else is to blame for the conditions that caused the fall in the first place. Florida businesses and companies need to be sure they don't have improperly maintained sidewalks, wet floors with no warning signs or dangerous stairs, so that customers and other people don't experience a slip and fall. However, in the interest of protecting yourself, experts say there are four ways to keep yourself safe if you do suffer a slip and fall.

Keep your body soft

It might be a natural reaction to tense up when you fall, but experts say that can be disastrous. The added tension in your body can result in injury. For example, if you fall, be sure that you don't lock your elbows. Bending them just a bit and relaxing your arms a bit can reduce the severity of impact.

Keep your head safe

Hitting your head in a fall can result in a traumatic brain injury. In fact, the CDC says that the most common cause of a traumatic brain injury is falling. If you fall backward, tuck your chin into your chest to keep it from striking the ground. If you fall forward, turn your face away to the side to protect your face as much as possible.

Rely on your muscles for cushioning

No place on your body is perfect to fall upon, but the best-case scenario involves you falling on the more cushioned and muscled parts of your body, such as your gluteus maximus, or back. The idea is to avoid hitting the ground with your hips. Around 300,000 older people go to the hospital for a hip fracture every year, and 95% of those result from a fall. Making your body into a ball shape as much as you can will help minimize any injuries.

Roll out of the fall

Once you've reached the ground, experts say the next step is to attempt to roll out of the fall. You can tuck your shoulder in and essentially push yourself out of the fall. This will increase the surface area that hits the ground, which means the impact will be more evenly distributed, thereby reducing injury.

Even with all these helpful tips, a fall can still result in significant injury, particularly if you are an older person. A slip and fall that results from someone else's negligence should never happen. If you are unfortunate enough to experience one, you may want to explore your legal options as part of your recovery.

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