(CBS) Bathrooms are dangerous places. How dangerous? Each year, 244,000 people over the age of 15 require emergency medical care for cuts, abrasions, broken bones, and other injuries sustained in the loo, according to a new estimate from the CDC.
Eighty percent of the injuries result from falls, the CDC says. Thirty-seven percent of these involve bathing or showering, but using the toilet isn't entirely safe. In fact, 14.1 percent of falls occurr as people sat down on, stood up from, or used the toilet, according to the survey, which was based on 2008 data.
Seniors accounted for most of the injuries - no surprise there. But in an interview with Healthday, Dr. Kathy Schrank, chief of the division of emergency medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, called bathrooms a "high-risk area" where "young people as well as old people can easily slip and fall."
What can be done to make bathrooms safer? The CDC offered several ideas, including adding non-slip surfaces in tubs and showers and installing grab rails inside and outside tubs and showers and next to the toilet, if needed.
Older adults may benefit from additional strategies, including getting some exercise to strengthen legs and balance; asking a doctor or pharmacist whether any drugs they take can cause dizziness or drowsiness: having regular eye exams to make sure their vision is sharp; and making sure the bathroom is well-lighted and free of clutter.
The CDC has more on the survey.