Hanging holiday décor, baking, cooking – it’s not hard to see why so many people are injured during the holiday season. many of these accidents can be avoided with just a little common sense and some preparation.
The winter holidays bring more than just Christmas cheer; they also bring a large number of people to the doctor’s office or hospital because of common injuries. The types of injuries during this time of year range from falls to minor burns and lacerations, but according to Coordinated Health primary care physician Lindsey Goffredo-Hughes, D.O. many can be prevented.
“A lot of holiday injuries can be avoided if you take your time and don’t rush through things,” says Dr. Goffredo-Hughes.
She also has some advice on what you can do to avoid a holiday visit to the doctor.
“As much as people would like to have their houses all lit up, like the Griswold family’s in ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,’ less is probably more,” Dr. Goffredo-Hughes suggests. “Make sure to read the wattage allowed in each extension cord — this is probably one of the top fire hazards during the holiday season. Always use a ladder with a spotter to hang lights and other decorations. Please make sure decorations on the roof are securely tacked down so they can’t fall or blow away and hurt an unsuspecting neighbor.”
Dr. Goffredo-Hughes has some additional suggestions to help you avoid a holiday disaster.
- Prevent falls — When decorating the outside of your house, keep your ladder on sturdy ground and have at least two rungs above the edge of the roof. If at all possible, have a friend or family member present to help prevent falls.
- Avoid fires — Never overload extension cords. House fires are common this time of year from overloading extension cords or plugs. Make sure to use power strips with a breaker switch to avoid the risk of fire. Making sure your tree is healthy and watered every day can also help prevent fires.
- Kitchen safety — Injuries in the kitchen are common this time of year too. Cuts and burns are some of the most frequent. When carving your holiday turkey or ham make sure you cut away from yourself. Being aware of hot pots and pans and using proper protection will help prevent burns.
- Snow removal, Part 1 — Last winter brought a significant amount of snow that required tons of shoveling across the region. When shoveling,u lift with your knees and not your back to prevent injury.
- Snow removal, Part 2 — If you’re out of shape, don’t shovel snow or push a snow blower. This strenuous, cold-weather exertion can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels, deprive your heart of oxygen and possibly cause a heart attack. Some experts warn that nobody over the age of 55 should even consider shoveling snow.
- Don’t forget about kids and pets —Beware of poisonous plants like holly, mistletoe and amaryllis. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are only slightly poisonous — although its leaves and sap can cause gastrointestinal distress and skin irritation. To be safe, keep all plants out of reach of children and pets.