It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it also comes with its own set of dangers and health hazards.
Where gifts and good cheer abound, there is also a sharp increase in injuries, illness and accidents. While the circumstances may be unavoidable, the injuries are highly preventable. With a little bit of extra attention and a few precautionary measures, good tidings and good health can coexist.
1. Fires and Burns
Kitchen accidents resulting in cuts and burns always rise during the holiday season, as more time is being spent preparing meals for parties and dinners. The number of kitchen fires triples on Thanksgiving Day, with similar statistics on Christmas and throughout the season.
Christmas trees play a role in over 200 structure fires per year. These fires are often the result of having a heat source, such as a light or a candle, placed too close to the tree. The National Fire Protection Association recommends making sure that the tree is fresh if purchasing a real tree, or fire-resistant if using artificial.
2. Trips and Falls
Injuries related to holiday decorating led to a total of 15,000 emergency room visits in 2012. Falling from ladders made up 34 percent of those injuries, which totaled approximately 250 hospital visits each day in November and December. By reading ladder safety instructions and taking extra care when climbing ladders, these falls can be prevented. Working with a partner can also be beneficial, as they can help ensure that the ladder remains stable.
3. Parking Lot Accidents
Distracted drivers run amok in parking lots during this time of year, specifically in mall parking lots or garages. The most common distraction is a mobile phone, with 66 percent of drivers admitted to texting or checking their mobile device while driving in a parking lot. Over 50,000 vehicle crashes occur in parking lots each year, and with those areas becoming even more crowded during this time of year, extra vigilance is key to make sure that accidents and injuries are prevented.
4. Cold and Flu
The cold winter air always seems to bring an influx of cold and flu symptoms, and the holiday season only serves to spread those germs. From December to February, there are more reported cases of influenza than any other time of year.
Hugging and shaking hands at holiday parties can easily pass germs from one person to another, but it is often acquired through other, less intimate ways as well. Frequenting stores can increase risk of catching the flu, with shopping cart handles being one of the biggest culprits when it comes to carrying bacteria. Carrying disinfecting wipes can assist with reducing the risk of contracting cold or flu from these types of surfaces.