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Avoid Holiday Injuries and Illnesses

Avoid Holiday Injuries and Illnesses

While the holidays are a time of happiness and good cheer, they're also a time of year that sees a spike in emergency-room visits. ATRIO Health Plans wishes everyone an emergency-room-free holiday season, and - with that goal in mind - is sharing the most common holiday-related injuries/illnesses and how to avoid them.

Moderation will Keep You, Merry,

The most common cause of holiday ER visits is overindulging across the board - alcohol, salt, sugar and fat, to name just a few culprits. For those with diabetes or heart conditions, consuming excessively from these categories can prove deadly. The key, which is true throughout the year, is to enjoy - but to do so in moderation.

Overindulging can lead to what doctors refer to as “holiday heart.” Eating or drinking too much can cause irregular heart rhythms in an otherwise normal heart. Hydration will generally counteract this condition, but the discomfort can be severe enough to warrant a trip to the ER. Best to avoid the situation entirely by enjoying while not overdoing.

Decorating Shouldn't be Dangerous

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, some 15,000 Americans wind up in the ER due to holiday-decorating-related injuries. Don't be one of them! Toward that end, follow these ladder-safety recommendations:

  • Place the ladder on a firm, level surface.
  • Have someone hold the ladder on which you're standing.
  • Always center yourself on the rung you’re standing on.
  • Hold the ladder's side rails with both hands.
  • Don't lean or reach far from the ladder.

Carve and Deep Fry with Caution

After cooking a frame-worthy turkey, ham or roast, don't ruin your culinary masterpiece by landing in the emergency room with a dangerous finger or hand laceration, which soar during the holidays. Don't ever drink before carving, and - if you feel uncomfortable with carving utensils - ask for assistance.

While deep frying a turkey has become a popular holiday cooking tradition, it is not without potential danger. For example, a wet or partially-thawed turkey can catch on fire or even explode. Additionally, splashed grease can cause severe burns. ERs also treat many people for burns resulting from dropping hot, heavy pans they're removing from the oven. If need be, make removing such pans a two-person task.

Food Should be Savory and Safe

Second, only to gifts, food is the holiday star. Food, however, also can harm. That's why it's essential to know if any of your guests have a good allergy. Food poisoning also is responsible for many holiday ER visits. To avoid this clearly unwanted outcome, be sure to use a meat thermometer to prevent undercooking meat and other holiday dishes. Also, if items are being served buffet style, ensure that all dishes are kept at their recommended temperatures by either using warmers or ice.

Make it a Season of Joy Not Stress

While the holidays are meant to be a season of making wonderful memories, holiday to-do lists can leave us feeling overwhelmed and unwell. In fact, rates of depression, panic attacks, and anxiety climb during the holiday season. To keep stress and other emotions in check, experts recommend getting enough sleep, taking time to relax, eating a relatively balanced diet, and working in a reasonable amount of exercise. If you or someone you know is experiencing significant mental-health issues, step back from the holidays and seek professional help.

Stay true to these tips, and you can look forward to ringing in a happy, healthy new year.