Public safety workers, such as firefighters and police officers, place themselves at risk for catastrophic injuries on a regular basis. However, not all injuries occur suddenly or have obvious symptoms.
As a public safety worker, you should watch out for signs of these hidden injuries.
Frequent exposure to loud noises can lead to hearing loss over time. According to the CDC, hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition in the United States. Hearing loss may also occur due to exposure to chemicals, such as carbon monoxide or lead.
Repetitive motion injuries
Repeatedly moving your body in the same way over a long period of time can lead to repetitive motion injuries, such as tendinitis and bursitis. These conditions develop gradually and can be extremely painful.
Sprains and strains
People in public safety occupations are at especially high risk for musculoskeletal injuries, such as sprains and strains. Such injuries can occur suddenly, but they can also develop over time as a result of carrying heavy equipment.
Foot or leg pain that does not go away may indicate a stress fracture. These can occur as a result of intense physical activity and muscle strain. At first, you may mistake a stress fracture for a strain or sprain.
Public safety officers must sometimes deal with needle sticks, spitting and even human bites. These can lead to bloodborne diseases and dangerous infections.
After exposure to human bodily fluids, you may require testing for diseases like HIV or hepatitis. It is important to monitor wounds for signs of infection, which can include redness, discharge and fever.
As a public safety officer, you must be vigilant about your health. Be aware of the risks so you can spot injuries before they worsen.