10 Everyday Activities Likely to Cause Serious Injuries

Death is a reality. Anyone can be its victim anytime, anywhere. Somehow, we all feel that death will not happen to us, at least for now. On the contrary, death doesn’t need any deadly disease or long medical history or even an advanced age, for that matter. Even everyday activities, like daily chores, can result in instant death, if not handled properly. Here is the list of ten such activities that are most likely to cause serious injuries, even death.

1. Sneezing is a violent activity which can rupture anybody’s disc. Some of them can even cause nosebleeds and muscle pulls.

man sneezing
Image credit: James Gathany/Wikimedia

It may sound extreme, but the tickle in your nose could result in some really nasty things. There were stories where a lady was left bedridden while watching TV and sneezing at the same time. Her sneeze was so forceful that it ruptured her disc, and,  as a result, her sciatic nerve got trapped between two vertebrae. This is called “Whiplash Effect” and occurs when your body is thrown out of whack by the force of a violent sneeze. We all do know that a single sneeze by a fellow traveler has a potential to spread flu germs to as many as 150 commuters in just five minutes. Another ill effect of sneezing is that if you hold it up, it could lead to a burst eardrum, torn blood vessels and muscles in your head, damaged sinuses, and in some rare cases, even brain hemorrhage.(source)

2. Shoveling snow can cause deadly heart attacks even though it is an everyday activity only in a small part of the world.

Person shovels snow off his sidewalk
Image credit: Andrea Booher/Wikimedia

In January 2016, nearly six people, all middle-aged, died while shoveling snow after the deadly winter storm Jonas hit the northeastern part of the US. Two of them suffered cardiac arrest after engaging in the grueling activity. Cardiac experts believe that the physical exertion involved in shoveling snow combined with the cold temperature is a deadly combo. It can prove fatal for those who are aged and leading a sedentary lifestyle. Statistics show that every year, Americans make nearly 11,500 trips to hospitals due to snow-shoveling injuries. Apart from the cardiac symptoms, the injuries include fractures and soft tissue damage as well. Males are more prone to snow shoveling injuries, particularly those above 55.(source)

3. Slicing avocado is the number two injury in the summer according to the US Emergency Department.

Slicing avocado
Image credit: Jeremy Keith/Flickr

The British Association of Plastic Surgeons is worried about an increasing number of cases related to “Avocado Hand”—injuries caused while cutting a fleshy fruit. It is because of the minimal understanding the people have of how to cut the fruit. Though some wounds are superficial, others cut through tendon or nerve and can take a few weeks to a month to heal. Some of them are really painful requiring hand therapy, while some can leave you with a red scar for life. Although rarely, these can cause loss of sensation in the affected area. There is, however, no statistics available of how many people suffered from “Avocado Hand,” but in New Zealand, as many as 100 people ever year cut their fingers/hand while slicing the fruit.(source)

4. Climbing ladders and standing on a stuff to reach things high up can cause some really catastrophic life-threatening as well as life-ending injuries. The risk goes up with age, especially for persons above 70 years.

Climbing ladders and standing on a stool to reach things
Image credits: Tiia Monto/Wikimedia, Pixabay

Statistics published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine show that there was nearly 50% increase in ladder-related injuries in the United States from 1990-2005. More than 2.1 million people in the US were treated for ladder-related injuries in these 15 years which turns out to be 136,000 cases a year. Again, males accounted for 77% of all ladder-related accidents as compared to females, and more than 95% of such injuries occur at home and other non-occupational settings. It means that people are not aware of the risks associated with using a ladder.(source)

5. Going to a bathroom causes at least one hip fracture a day. Women are more prone to bathroom injuries than men.

hip fracture
Image credits: DocP/Wikimedia, Booyabazooka/Wikimedia

Bathing and showering, followed by the injuries related to the use of toilet (sitting down, standing up, even overexertion), have so far injured nearly a quarter of a million Americans. While most of them, approximately 234,094, are non-fatal injuries, the danger increases with age. At least 50% of all people above 65 who got their hip fractures from a fall are most likely to die within 12 months of the injury.(source)

6. Beware of opening gift packs, especially around Christmas, as you may end up with a cut finger due to “theft-proof packaging.”

Wrap Rage
Image credit: Tktktk/Wikimedia

Cutting a finger is a non-fatal injury which often is caused by opening difficult, tamper-proof packaging. Most of the time, people use unsafe tools like razor blades, box cutters, snips, and ice picks to open them hurting themselves in the process. Other common injuries reported from opening theft-proof packaging includes cut hands, bruised hands, sprained wrists, and strained shoulder muscles. In fact, media coined the term “wrap rage” in 2007 for referring to a frustration and anger people felt when they are not able to open a theft-proof package. A study on a topic in Britain pointed out that over 60,000 people receive hospital treatment every year due to injuries resulting from opening food packaging alone. The number of injuries further increases around Christmas. In fact, in 2012, Amazon became the first company in the world to introduce certified, frustration-free packaging whereby the packaging is recyclable and comes without any excess packaging material.(source)

7. Be careful when using your phone. Looking down at your phone can cause ‘text neck,’ and holding it even in a proper position at eye level could also lead to “text arm.”

using phone text neck
Image credit: Pixabay

“Text neck” is the term coined by medical professionals to describe neck pain and related damage sustained from constantly looking down at your phone or any other wireless devices. Symptoms associated with “text neck” are upper back pain, severe upper back muscle spasms, shoulder pain and tightness, as well as pinching of the cervical nerve. It can also lead to an early onset of arthritis if left untreated. According to a report by Virgin Mobile, an estimated four million Britons suffer from text-related injuries. Numb fingers and aching wrists also result from constantly texting from your mobile phones.(source)

8. Mixing cleaning supplies like ammonia and bleach, liquid plumber, and crystallized drain opener, or using ammonia to clean urine can cause serious chemical burns requiring emergency hospitalization.

Cleaning supplies
Image credit: Siyavula Education/Flickr

There are other chemical combinations which, when mixed, can produce disastrous results, and they could lead to serious chemical burns. Among these are vinegar and bleach, the mixing of which could lead to toxic chlorine gas and chloroform. Mixing hydrogen peroxide and vinegar results in peracetic acid. Using two different battery brands can lead to corrosion. Taking medicine and eating grapefruit can be lethal, Mixing acetaminophen and alcohol can lead to irreversible liver damage. Drinking Red Bull and milk causes stomach aches. Taking ibuprofen and alcohol can lead to a torn stomach lining etc.(source)

9. Lifting a heavy pork butt could tear your rotator cuff. One can even throw one’s back by doing as simple a thing as drying oneself after a shower. This can also happen while patting your dearest cat.

man lifting boxes
Image credit: www.publicdomainpictures.net

Doing anything carelessly or without proper form could cause lifetime injuries. Medical research shows that improper lifting, as well as not lifting from your legs, can cause three types of injuries. The first type is muscle injury resulting from extra stress on the lower back muscles causing tiny tears. The second is a joint injury along the spinal column. The third is disc injury where intervertebral discs between the vertebrae can bulge or rupture when injured thereby causing severe pain in buttocks and legs. Most back injuries happen in occupational settings, and according to the US Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 20% of all back injuries due to improper lifting.(1,2)

10. Be mindful of wearing flip-flops during the summer as in addition to foot injuries, you may end up having problems in your neck, head, and jaw.

Woman wearing red flip flops
Image credit: Kai Schreiber/Wikimedia

Wearing flip-flops every day could cause injuries. It is because when a person is not wearing supportive sneakers that act as a cushion for the foot in favor of light flip-flops, their body may lose its balance. It is estimated by the U.K. National Health Service that every year nearly 200, 000 patients are treated for flip-flop related injuries at a whopping cost of more than 40 million U.K. pounds. There are three types of flip-flop related injuries:
1. Toe fractures
2. Plantar fasciitis, which means increased pain in the heel or sole of the foot
3. Tendonitis, which means that switching from supportive to unsupportive footwear can change the bone mechanics and put pressure on the tendons to work harder. (1,2)

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