See here: Protect those peepers during DIY projects

By Jeanne Reynolds

Spring gets all the press for cleaning season, but there’s something about fall that makes me want to spruce up. Maybe it’s a need to prep the nest for the coming cold, or the likelihood of holiday visitors. Or maybe it’s finally cool enough to make manual labor a little less daunting (as in less sweaty).

Whatever the reason, a few days ago I had a home improvement experience that could have had disastrous consequences. Since this is, after all, a blog site tied to women’s health, I want to share it with you so you might avoid my mistakes.

cleaning-bucket-mld108211_sqA handyman was replacing weather stripping around the doors in our house. While the old pieces were off and before the new ones went on, I had a chance to clean off the grime in the doorframe. Regular spray cleaner and a paper towel weren’t cutting it, so I grabbed a sponge and my big bottle of household bleach.

You probably see what’s coming next. As I scrubbed directly overhead with that wet sponge, a large drip hit me right in the eye. Fortunately, it was more water than bleach, and I was steps away from a sink where I quickly rinsed my eye. Even so, it teared and burned for hours and my vision was slightly blurred the rest of the day. But could have been much, much worse: Getting chemical cleaners in your eye can cause a corneal ulcer or even blindness.

Chemicals aren’t the only dangers lurking out there for you and your family this time of year. See if any of these potential eye hazards are on your to-do list:

  • Cleaning out gutters and downspouts
  • Chopping wood for the fireplace
  • Trimming errant tree limbs and shrubs
  • Washing exterior windows and doors
  • Pointing up mortar around bricks or cracks in cement patios

All of these tasks involve serious chemicals, flying debris or both. And if you’re like me, you can’t afford to hire someone to take care of all your home chores. But going the DIY route doesn’t mean you can’t tackle these jobs safely. It just takes a little care, forethought and — ahem — common sense.

Number one tip: Wear protective goggles or glasses. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends every household have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear for use during household projects, such as yardwork, that put your eyes at risk. Don those goggles while using toxic chemicals, too: Fumes from paint and cleaners can also damage your eyes.

In my case, I could also have protected my eyes by using my feet— as in going to the garage for a step ladder so I could work at eye level, not above it. Making sure you have — and use — the right equipment can make the job both easier and safer.

It might take a few extra minutes. And no arguing, those goggles aren’t exactly the height of fashion. But won’t it be worth the time and trouble to actually be able to see the fruit of your labors?

Be careful out there, folks.

Dr. Webber Talks Summer Safety for Kids

From Sunburn to bug bites – Dr. Caroline Webber of Lexington Pediatric Practice, a physician practice at Lexington Medical Center, talks to Tony Tally on WACH FOX about summer safety for children. Click the link to watch the full video: WACH_06-13-2013_22.31.41

Click the link to watch the full video: WACH_06-13-2013_22.31.41

COLUMBIA (WACH) – Pools, playgrounds, sporting events, and a lot of outdoor activity will be on the to-do list for some as the summer begins. However, staying hydrated and beating the heat will also be at the top of the list as summer temperatures rise. Dr. Caroline Webber, a pediatrician with Lexington Pediatric Practice, says hydration is one of the most important things if children are going to be out in the heat and humidity. Additionally, bug bites and sun burns are two concerns during the summer season. Protective lotions such as sunscreen lotion are recommended. “The damaging rays are the ones that are the UV rays,” says Webber. “Those are the invisible ones. UVA and UVB.” Children are most exposed to sun during their childhood, which is why protecting children throughout the summer is really important. In addition to light clothing and sunscreen, staying out of the sun during peak times of 10 am to 4pm can also be extremely helpful in preventing sunburns. Dr. Webber’s office is located at 811 West Main Street in Lexington.