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Thousands of injuries occur in bathroom each year, CDC reports

June 09, 2011|By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Danger lurks in the bathroom: Slips and falls in the shower and bathtub made up two thirds of the estimated 234,094 nonfatal bathroom injuries in the U.S. in 2008, the CDC estimates.
Danger lurks in the bathroom: Slips and falls in the shower and bathtub made… (Myun Chung / Los Angeles…)

Keeping up with hygiene is a good idea, but watch your step. The bathroom is full of ways to hurt yourself — and a new report estimates that nearly a quarter of a million Americans age 15 or older can back that up.

Bathing and showering appear to be particularly dangerous. Overall, about two-thirds of accidental injuries happen in the bathtub or shower — which makes sense, because each can become slippery. But many injuries involve the toilet: standing up, sitting down, or using it. (Yes, about 9% of the total injuries were from overexertion.)

Overall, mishaps near the bathtub, shower, toilet and sink caused an estimated 234,094 nonfatal injuries in the U.S. in 2008 among people at least 15 years old, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported online Thursday in its weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. And the injury rate rises with age.

Researchers used emergency room data on accidental, nonfatal injuries and some statistical number crunching to reach their conclusions.  Their report is full of statistics (which makes it good bathroom reading, if you have 15 minutes and an Internet connection) on the slips, sprains, contusions, fractures and concussions that can happen in the bathroom.

A few highlights:

--About 81% of the injuries were caused by falls.

--Women were more likely to be hurt than men.

--Two-thirds of all injuries occurred in the tub or shower, though only 2.2% occurred while getting into the shower or tub

--Overall, only 1% of accidental nonfatal injuries occurred in the bathroom, but for those 65 and older, 2.5% occurred in the bathroom.

While people have long known that the bathroom can be a hazardous area for slips and falls, the new report is the first to quantify how many people suffer injuries in the bathroom and under what circumstances.

Ultimately, it recommends more research into whether grab bars in the tub or shower can prevent injuries, for young and old.

In any case, the report's findings are welcome — the Internet can always use more trustworthy bathroom injury statistics.

healthkey@tribune.com

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