‘Tis the season for holiday cheer and celebration. Unfortunately, at the ER, it’s also one of the busiest times of the year.
With most of us running to put up decorations, rushing to buy the perfect gift for our loved ones, entertaining out-of-town guests, and planning fun New Year’s Eve parties, it’s no surprise our ER sees a spike in visits during this month.
To help keep you and your family out of the ER these last few days of December, we’ve put together a list of prevention tips for the common December holiday emergencies.
At RapidCare Emergency Room we are an independent emergency room offering cutting-edge ER technology on-site, staffed by caring ER doctors 24/7 even on holidays. We truly care about the many communities that we serve. For this reason, we hope to help to prevent accidents and illnesses through our December Holiday Emergencies to Avoid article.
Top Holiday Emergencies to Avoid
Aside from seasonal viral infections, these are the top reasons people end up in the emergency room during the Holidays.
The beautiful lights and decorations adorning the homes in our neighborhood make the Holidays the most wonderful time of the year.
However, data from the Consumer Products Safety Report (CPSC) shows that some 200 decorating-related injuries occur daily during this time of year, and most incidents involve falls.
Tips to Avoid Decorating Accidents
- Never attempt to hang outdoor lights and decorations on your own. Always have someone securing the ladder when you are on it
- Shy away from sharp or breakable decorations
- Ensure you use the correct type of lights; never use indoor lights for your outdoor decoration
- Check all Christmas lights and extension cords before using them. Please avoid using any that have broken or cracked sockets, loose connections, or frayed and bare wires, as these can be a fire hazard
- Secure and tuck electrical cords and keep them away from walkways to prevent falls
Preparing large meals takes much preparation, and there never seems to be enough time. As a result, we often feel rushed while in the kitchen, which can lead to injuries like cuts and burns.
Tips to Avoid Cooking-Related Accidents
- Always use a cutting board when chopping or cutting ingredients
- Never leave knives overhanging on the kitchen counter, and make sure always to point the sharp edge away from your meal prep space
- Remember always to slice away from your hand
- Ensure pot handles are facing inward on the stove, never outward, where someone can bump into them and cause the hot contents to spill and burn someone
- Don’t leave food unattended while on the burner or oven
- Focus on the task at hand; distractions can lead to injuries
- Avoid wearing loose, flowy clothing while cooking
- Keep kitchen towels and food packaging away from any heat source to avoid them catching fire
Holiday dinners are full of decadently delicious foods and plenty of alcoholic beverages to toast the New Year. But overindulging in rich foods and alcohol can land you in the ER with chest pains or even a heart attack.
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in America, and studies show more people die from them in the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s.
While stress and lack of physical activity are factors, the statistics show that your risk of a heart attack increases fourfold within two hours of eating a heavy meal. Here is why.
- When we overeat, our stomachs expand, and more blood is sent to the digestive system to help process the foods we just ate. For people who already have blocked arteries, any decrease in blood flow to the heart can result in angina or chest pain.
- Additionally, having a distended stomach can result in faster and more irregular heart rhythms, which can potentially cause a heart attack or heart failure.
- Heavy drinking can weaken the heart muscle because alcohol can be toxic to the heart and predispose you to arrhythmias.
Tips to Avoid Overindulging During the Holidays
- Pace yourself while eating
- Try eating healthy a healthy snack before your Holiday dinner. This way, you won’t be as hungry
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink at parties. A good hack is to have a glass of water in between drinks
Many of us will be traveling to visit family and friends this Holiday Season. Unfortunately, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that this year as many as 346 people may die due to traffic-related accidents between Christmas and New Year’s.
Tips to Avoid Traffic-Related Accidents
- Never drink and drive. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair our senses and cause accidents
- If you are traveling during the Holidays, make sure to have a mechanic check your car before your trip to avoid any mechanical mishaps
- Respect all traffic lights and road signs even if you don’t see other cars nearby
- Be mindful of minimum and maximum speed limits
- Make sure everyone wears their seat belts while in the car
We hope you have a joyful and safe Holiday with your family and loved ones. But if you are feeling unwell, remember that we at Rapid Care ER are available to treat all your medical emergencies, even during the Holidays