10 Holiday Health Hazards
Ever wonder why the number of emergency room visits escalates around the holidays? Everyday tasks—and items—can increase the chance of people being injured or getting sick during this time of year.
Don’t ruin your holidays with an unfortunate incident. Here are 10 tips to help you steer clear of holiday health hazards.
- Falls – Looking to have a holiday light display that would make Clark Griswold proud? Make sure you have help. Get a spotter when you’re up on a ladder and do the work during daylight hours when it’s easier to see. Breaking a leg won’t help you win any decoration contests!
- Decorative Dangers – Breakable decorations and sharp ornaments can be very hazardous, especially for small children and pets. If there are little fingers or paws in your home, it’s best to stick to soft and non-breakable décor.
- Fire – Gathering around a fireplace is a lovely holiday tradition, but it’s also a fire hazard. Use a fireplace screen when fires are lit and never throw items into the fire (no matter how much you want to see if they burn)! Also make sure lit candles are placed out of reach of children or pets, and extinguish them when you leave the room.
- Burns – All that cooking and baking around the holidays increases the chances of getting burned, either by touching a hot pan or by spattered grease. Have plenty of pot holders, oven mitts and dishcloths handy. Also be careful of too many “helpers” in the kitchen, as a crowded space can cause more chaos!
- Food Poisoning – Vomit and holiday dinners just don’t go together! Check the expiration date on all foods before eating or serving them. Wash knives, cutting boards and work surfaces regularly, as well as your hands. Don’t keep food sitting out at room temperature too long.
- Illness – Hugging and kissing relatives is usually the norm during holiday get-togethers. But with COVID-19 and the flu looming, it’s not a good idea to get too close this year. Wash your hands often, keep your distance from anyone who appears sick, and if you’re feeling under the weather, skip the event this year.
- Allergies – Live trees and greenery are beautiful, but be careful if you’re allergic as you could spend the holidays with a red nose like Rudolph! Same goes for holiday goodies brought over by neighbors. Proceed with caution if you have any food allergies.
- Car Accidents – Everyone wants snow for the holidays, but it’s better to watch it from your window than to drive in it! Slippery roads and poor visibility cause accidents. Drivers are also rushing around doing holiday shopping or driving home from parties after drinking, so be cautious of others and practice defensive driving.
- Gift Hazards – Caution is the name of the game when it comes to gifts. Opening the hard plastic cover on a toy or gadget can lead to injury if you’re not careful. Some toys and gifts can be dangerous if they get in the wrong hands so pay attention to who may have access to them.
- Pet Poisoning – Certain plants and foods that are common around the holidays can be dangerous for your pet. Plants to keep out of the house (or at least out of your pet’s reach) include poinsettias, lilies and yews (evergreens). Also keep chocolate and avocado away from curious mouths, as well as any other food or plants recommended by your vet.
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Date Last Reviewed: October 6, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD