Keep the holidays injury-free
‘Tis the season, 2020 style. The holidays might look a little different this year, but it’s still a time for family, traditional dinners and desserts, and gift swaps with loved ones near and far. But along with the spirit and joys of the season, the holidays also present some dangers.
Don’t let a holiday mishap land you in an urgent care clinic when you should be toasty by the fire. Here are some tips for avoiding common holiday injuries.
Decorating is the top cause of injury during the holidays, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The numbers speak volumes. During November and December 2015, emergency rooms across the country treated an estimated 14,000 injuries due to decorating.
Not surprisingly, the majority of decorating-related injuries are related to falls. Even a tumble from a few feet up a ladder can cause a concussion, broken bones or a tweaked back.
Here are a few ways to stay safe while decking the halls:
- Do a safety check. Before using a ladder, check that rungs are undamaged and dry and ensure there’s no wobble when it’s upright. Confirm weight limits before you climb.
- Put ladders in their place. Place the ladder on solid, even ground, and use the 4-to-1 rule to get the right angle. For every four feet you plan to climb, move the ladder base one foot from the wall. Most important, always have someone hold the ladder steady.
- Keep kids grounded. While kiddos may want to lend a hand, it's much safer for them to stay on the ground. Put younger elves in charge of passing tools, holding the ladder or offering decorating advice.
- Hold the eggnog and wine. Most decorating injuries involve alcohol, which impairs coordination and judgment. Save the celebratory drink for when your work is done.
- Decorate with a buddy. No matter your age, never decorate on your own. If you’re injured, your designated buddy will be there to get help or take you to an urgent care center for medical treatment.
Check out more of the CPSC’s holiday decorating safety tips.
Keep safe in the kitchen
The best parts of the holidays come from the kitchen. But along with sweet and savory culinary creations comes a lot of hustle, bustle and safety risks. A few precautions will keep you safe from slices and burns so everyone can enjoy your famous sourdough stuffing and pecan pie.
- Douse fire and burn risks. Keep oven mitts, potholders, food packaging and dishtowels away from the stove, and avoid wearing loose clothing that could catch fire on burners. Take special caution when handling hot liquids and foods. Steam or splashes can cause painful burns, along with hot pans and serving dishes.
- Know your tools. The holidays are a time to break out seldom-used kitchen gadgets, from warming trays to mandolin slicers. It’s easy to rush when preparing a feast, but it’s important to slow things down when using items you’re not used to handling.
- Clean and clear floors. From water to olive oil to giblet gravy, spills can create a hazard. When something hits the floor, wipe it up immediately, and wear shoes with good traction just in case you miss something. Be sure the floor is also free from tripping hazards like bags and toys, and keep pets out of the kitchen and out from under your feet.
- Protect fingers while slicing and dicing. Hold what you’re chopping with your hand in a "claw" shape to protect fingertips. The smooth surface of your fingers will also act as a guide for the knife. If you're using a mandolin, hold ingredients with a fork or pronged tool to keep fingers away from sharp edges. When you use a grater, wear a glove for added protection.
- Keep a cork in the wine. A glass of wine while you cook might be tempting, but you’re also tempting injury. Save the chardonnay for the dinner table.
Give yourself a break from back pain
From hoisting Christmas trees and hefting boxes, to lugging suitcases for guests, your back is doing some heavy lifting this time of the year. That can translate to a spine injury or strained shoulder and pose a greater fall risk.
When lifting, always use proper form:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, one foot slightly in front of the other.
- Squat down and lift with your legs, not your back.
- Keep the load close to your body.
- When setting things down, squat again without bending your back.
- If you need to carry something extra bulky, ask for help.
Put the chill on slips and spills
Mother nature can be harsh this time of year, and that means a greater risk of falls and slips. Falls on snow or ice can lead to a concussion, back injury, bruised tailbone or broken bones that can require medical treatment and put you out of commission.
If you live in an area prone to winter weather, de-ice driveways and walkways with rock salt, calcium chloride or magnesium chloride. Toss in a little sand or cat litter for added traction.
Indigo is here for the holidays
Even when you follow safety precautions, accidents can happen. We’re here to treat your minor injuries and illnesses to help keep the season merry and bright. Your nearby Indigo Urgent Care is open every day, 8 am to 8 pm, even on holidays.