Some of us truly love the holiday season and feel tremendous joy at this time. But as our spirits rise, so do the risks of accidents. Hanging decorations that require ladders, putting up flammable trees, hosting parties that result in lack of sleep and DUI risks, contracting winter illnesses, and experiencing stress over any number of issues and responsibilities can turn you into the Grinch.
Here are some tips to help you finish the holiday season as whole and happy as you were when it began.
The Risk of Falls
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that approximately 15,000 people went to the emergency room during November and December of 2012 for injuries related to decorating. The most common reason for injury was falling. Suggestions for making this season fall-free include:
- Use appropriate caution when on a ladder. If you don’t climb one regularly, you might want to review the rules of ladder safety.
- Don’t be the one to climb the ladder if your balance or mobility are issues for you.
- If using a ladder outdoors, make sure the ground isn’t icy or slippery, and keep metal ladders well clear of power lines.
- Never use a chair, table, desk, or anything that’s not a proper ladder or stepstool to reach the higher-up locations.
- Don’t string cords so that they might trip someone, such as across doorways.
The Risk of Fires
Nationwide, fire departments respond to approximately 200 fires every year where the Christmas tree was the starting point for the blaze. Candles alone cause dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. Preventing fires isn’t difficult. You can:
- Use only holiday lights that are in good repair and come with the UL seal of approval.
- Unplug all decorative lights before you go to bed.
- Water your live Christmas tree daily and set it up far from heat sources such as fireplaces.
- If you are using an artificial tree, be sure it is flame-retardant.
- Don’t hang flammable decorations on the tree.
- Extinguish candles before you leave a room.
- Don’t block fire exits with your tree.
- If you use a deep fryer for turkeys, you’re playing with fire. Heed these safety tips.
Holiday Health Risks
Flus and other common winter illnesses aren’t your only risks. Stay healthy and whole by paying attention to the following:
- Parties and buffets. Foods may be undercooked or not refrigerated properly, bringing an increased risk of food poisoning. The CDC has reported that 1 in 6 of us experience a food-related illness from contaminated food every year. The riskiest foods—and possibly the ones you might consider passing up—are seafood, undercooked meat and poultry, and eggs and egg dishes. If you are throwing a party, prepare the food yourself, observing food preparation safety rules.
- Alcohol can be a problem. Consider not serving it or be prepared to transport or house the inebriated. If you are the one indulging, use a designated driver or a ride service or taxi.
- Note that at this time of year you are more likely to be hit by a driver who is under the influence. Avoid early-morning driving on Saturdays and Sundays, as late drinkers may just be going home. Be especially wary on Thanksgiving (the deadliest day of the year on the roads) and New Year’s Eve/Day, which is deadlier than Christmas.
- Heart-related fatalities peak on Christmas Day, but the entire holiday period carries extra risk of a heart attack from overeating (a known trigger), shoveling snow if you are not used to it, holiday stresses, forgetting to take your heart-related medication, and ignoring chest pain or other warning signs because you don’t want to dampen holiday cheer. Know the signs of a heart attack and get yourself to a hospital immediately if you experience symptoms.
Please take care during this festive time. We hope you have a safe and joyous holiday season!
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This post comes courtesy of Frederick W. Penney of Penney & Associates Injury Lawyers. The firm assists people across California with personal injury cases.