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National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

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Be Safe

Be Safe

Helpful Tips
More Information
Supporting Information
VA Policies
Source Documents

 

Helpful Tips

  • There are actions you can take to protect yourself and those you love from harm. Common safety issues are sexually transmitted infections, falls, and motor vehicle crashes.

    Patient Handout

Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs):

  • The best way to fully protect yourself from STIs is to abstain from sex.
  • STIs can be passed to another person during sex; therefore, use a latex condom every time you have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral), if your partner might be or is infected.
  • Decreasing the number of your sexual partners may reduce your risk of developing STIs.
  • Being in a mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner (you and your partner only have sex with each other) can reduce your risk of developing STIs.
  • STIs can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby before or during the baby's birth.
  • If you are pregnant, get tested for STIs and seek appropriate treatment if the test is positive to avoid passing the infection to the baby.
  • Many STIs do not have symptoms. You can have an STI without knowing it. If you think you might have an STI or have been exposed, talk to your health care provider.
  • Some STIs can be cured with antibiotics if they are treated early. Untreated STIs can cause serious health problems, such as infertility.
  • If you are treated for an STI, your sex partner(s) should also be treated to prevent re-infecting you.

Prevent Falls:

  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma (CDC 2005).
  • About half of all falls happen at home.
  • If you or a loved one has fallen recently or has balance problems, consider the following home safety tips and request a home safety assessment, if available to you:
  • Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.
  • Have grab bars put in next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.
  • Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Hang light-weight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
  • Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
  • Remove things you can trip over (such as papers, books, clothes, shoes) from stairs and places where you walk.
  • Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
  • Have handrails and lights put in all staircases.
  • Engaging in regular physical activity, especially strengthening exercises may reduce your risk of falling by increasing strength and balance.

Prevent Motor Vehicle Crashes and Injury:

  • Impaired driving is dangerous and causes more than half of all motor vehicle crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in Veterans in the early years after returning from deployment. Don't drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or ride with somebody who is.
  • You can reduce your chance and your loved ones' chances of dying from a motor vehicle-related injury by correctly using seat belts and car seats. Wear seat belts in cars and helmets on motorcycles and bicycles.
  • Don't text message or talk on a cell phone while driving.

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More Information:

STIs:

Falls:

Motor Vehicle Safety:

* Indicates that the link leads to a non-VA website. The VA is not responsible for the content that is on the site.

If you have questions or interest in making a healthy living change, please see your primary care team at the VA facility in which you receive health care.

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Supporting Information:

Definitions

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Infections acquired by having sex with someone who has an STI. STIs can result from any sexual activity, whether it involves the mouth, anus, vagina, or penis.
  • Increased risk/high risk for STI: People are at increased risk for STI if they have multiple current sexual partners, are sexually active adolescents, or have had a STI within the past year.

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VA Policy

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Source Documents

  1. Home and Recreational Safety website:
    http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/
    *
  2. Hornbrook MC, Stevens VJ, Wingfield DJ, Hollis JF, Greenlick MR, Ory MG. Preventing falls among community-dwelling older persons: results from a randomized trial. Gerontologist. Feb 1994;34(1):16-23.
  3. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website:
    http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsstds.htm
    *
  4. HHS. Healthfinder: A Quick Guide to Reliable Information on Health.
    http://www.healthfinder.gov
    *
  5. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) - Integrating Evidence-Based Clinical and Community Strategies to Improve Health,
    http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/prevention-chronic-care/improve/community/*
  6. How to Use I Statements in Clinical Practice (VIDEO):
    http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/ivideos.htm
    *
  7. The Guide to Community Preventive Services:
    http://www.thecommunityguide.org/index.html
    *
  8. Prevent falls website:
    http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html*
  9. Fatalities and injuries from falls among older adults--United States, 1993-2003 and 2001-2005. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. Nov 17 2006;55(45):1221-1224.
  10. Administration on Aging website:
    http://www.aoa.gov/*
  11. CDC National Center for Injury Prevention: A Toolkit to Prevent Senior Falls:
    http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/Falls/steadi/index.html*
  12. Motor Vehicle Safety websites:
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/motorvehiclesafety.html
    *
    http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/index.html*