Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



Accidents, including head injuries, are the leading cause of death in young people. Many of these accidents are related to drug and alcohol use. Many accidents can be prevented by avoiding dangerous activities or wearing safety equipment.

To help prevent head injuries:

  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Never drink or use drugs and drive.

  • Protect yourself from vehicle-related head trauma by wearing a seat belt, motorcycle helmet and bicycle helmet.

  • If you play sports, wear the right kind of protective headgear. If you suffer a blow to the head while playing, leave the game immediately and seek medical attention.

  • If your job involves working high above the ground, use approved safety equipment to prevent falls. Never work in a high place if you feel lightheaded or unsteady, if you have been drinking alcohol, or if you are taking medication that can make you dizzy or affect your balance.

  • Have your vision checked regularly. Poor vision can increase your risk of falls and other types of accidents. This is especially true if you are elderly or if you work in high places.

  • If you are elderly, clear your home or apartment of hazards such as throw rugs and extension cords, which can cause you to trip and fall. If you feel unsteady on your feet, consider using a cane or walker.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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