Did You Know? 12 Holiday Health Hazards

When we think of the holidays we generally think of the wonderful time we’ll have eating, laughing, and being around our family. What we might not think about are all the hidden opportunities for accidents to happen. Did you know that the day after Christmas is the busiest day of the year in the ER? So, what is really happening to cause such a spike in hospital visits during the holiday season? Read on to learn about the top holiday health hazards.

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Top 5 Reasons People Go To ER On Thanksgiving

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  1. Burns: People most often report getting injured while trying to put out a cooking fire. A tip? Don’t pour water on a grease fire. It will cause the hot grease to spread and splatter increasing your chances of a burn.
  2. Lacerations: Be careful when slicing the turkey, and keep an eye on children making sure to keep them away from sharp knives. If you break a glass clean the mess thoroughly with a broom, not your hands.
  3. Food poisoning: Handling and storing food improperly is usually the cause of food poisoning. Make sure all food is heated to the proper temperature and that you don’t have food sitting out for more than 2 hours.
  4. Alcohol: In addition to drinking on Thanksgiving day and during the meal, many people drink the night before. Be aware of how much alcohol you are consuming, and cut off family members if you feel they’ve had enough.
  5. Overindulgence: We often joke about overeating on Thanksgiving, but you should always be cautious of what you’re eating and how you’re eating it. Things as simple as chewing your food can go a long way.  Overeating can lead to dangerous health problems and can increase the chances of a heart attack.

More Holiday Mayhem:

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Busiest day in ER is the day after Christmas: Stress, decorating, and cooking accidents all lead to ER visits during the holiday season. Many people don’t want to be in the hospital on the actual holiday, so they wait until the next day to receive medical care.

Heart attacks increase during holiday times:  Heart-related deaths increase by 5 percent during the holiday season. Fatal heart attacks peak on Christmas, the day after Christmas, and New Year’s Day, according to a national Circulation study published in 2004.

Decorating can be dangerous if you’re not careful:  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates there were 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating seen in emergency departments nationwide during November and December 2012. Falling from a ladder and stepping on broken ornaments may be funny in holiday movies but in real life, these and similar mishaps result in visits to the emergency room, or calls to fire departments, for thousands of consumers each year.

Keep an eye on that yule log: When it comes to fires, from 2009 through 2011, fire departments nationwide responded to an average of 200 fires in which the Christmas tree was the first item ignited. These incidents resulted in 10 deaths, 20 injuries and $16 million in property loss.

It’s all fun and games until the gift won’t open: Each year about 6,000 people in the United States visit the ER with wounds from trying to pry, slice or stab open gifts encased in hard plastic “clamshells” or held down with a thousand metal twist ties.

Drive safe, slow, and sober: Thanksgiving was the deadliest holiday in 2010, according to the most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That year, 431 people died on the roads nationwide. More people driving increases the likelihood of an accident, and there are an estimated 39.1 million people on the roads during Thanksgiving. Christmas and New Year’s, when alcohol is responsible for nearly half of accident fatalities, also have their share of road peril.

More frequent hospital visits for the elderly: For many people, the holidays are the only time of year they get to see their extended family members. Due to not seeing each other often, many are alarmed by the health of their older relatives and rush them to the hospital, sometimes unnecessarily.