Man standing on ladder puts up holiday lights along roof line.
Health & Wellness

How to Stay Out of the ER During the Holidays

By on 12/17/2018

Don’t let holiday excitement land you in the hospital. Here are 6 steps to stay safer.

The holiday season is a busy time of year for emergency rooms. Between ladders, lit candles, alcohol and stress, there are many ways for holiday fun to turn into holiday disaster if you’re not careful.

It’s up to you to make sure your festivities don’t end with a trip to the hospital. With a few sensible strategies, you can stay safer this holiday season. Here are 6 tips to keep you and your loved ones out of the ER:

  1. Decorate with caution. Thousands of people wind up in the ER each year after falling from ladders and roofs while decorating. It’s important to know your limits. If you don’t feel comfortable getting on a ladder to string lights, ask a friend or family member to help. And never use ladders while drinking.
  2. Avoid overindulging. Christmas is the most common day for heart attacks. Having a big, fatty meal or drinking excessively contributes to a spike in heart issues during this time. Binge drinkers run the risk of a condition known as holiday heart syndrome. Symptoms include an irregular heartbeat pattern that may develop in people who are otherwise healthy.
  3. Be careful in the kitchen. Cooking for family and friends can be rewarding but a combination of high heat and sharp objects, coupled with stress and distraction, can land you in the ER with burns or cuts. Take your time and pay attention to what you’re doing.
  4. Don’t drink and drive. Each year, about 2-3 times more people die in alcohol-related crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than during the rest of the year. And 25,000 people will be injured. If you plan on drinking, have a designated driver or call a cab or a ride share service.
  5. Keep your home safe. Lit candles are a common cause of house fires. Never leave a candle unattended and don’t place candles near flammable materials such as drapes. Also make sure rugs are secure and homes are well-lit, especially if older people will be visiting.
  6. Don’t ignore your health. If you don’t feel well, don’t wait to go to the doctor just because you’re busy. Many health conditions also require routine medical care and treatment. A full schedule should not be a reason to skip doctor visits or follow-up on medical issues.

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Date Last Reviewed: October 19, 2018

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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Perspectives highlights the expertise and services provided by the physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare providers at Einstein Healthcare Network. Through this blog, we share information about new treatments and technologies, top-tier clinical teams and the day-to-day interactions that reinforce our commitment to delivering quality care with compassion. Here, you will also find practical advice for championing your health and wellness. The Einstein Healthcare Network "Terms of Use" apply to all content on this blog.