How to Stay Safe and Healthy During the Holidays

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,207
    Dr. Christina Johns discusses ways to stay safe and healthy during the holiday season.

    Dr. Christina Johns: Hi, I am Dr. Christina Johns. I am an emergency medicine physician and today we are going to talk about some of the most common holiday health hazards that we see this time of the year. I love this season. It is so much fun with good friends, good food, lots of parties. It's fantastic for everyone but it does put us at some increased risk for some serious holiday injuries. So lets talk about it so we can help you have a better holiday season. So here we are at the Christmas tree, the center piece of everybody's holiday decoration. There are beautiful ornaments on this tree in fact so beautiful that a toddler would like to come around, pull it off, potentially the glass cutting him or herself or even worse pulling over the entire tree on to them, potentially causing a serious injury. So keep your glass ornaments way up high and out of reach and remember to watch your toddler whenever you are at a party. Another thing that comes to my mind when I think about Christmas trees are allergies. There are fair number of people who are allergic to different types of Christmas trees and if you are one of those people make sure that you call ahead when we are going to a party the last thing you want to do is wind up in the emergency room when you really want to be having fun at the party. .

    Don't you love Mistletoe. I love all of the holiday plants like Holly and poinsettias. They are gorgeous. But you know they can potentially be toxic. Holly Berries and Mistletoe while they are tempting for kids and pets, keep them totally out of reach because they can be highly toxic. One of the myths that I want to debunk is that poinsettias are potentially very toxic. They are not poisonous plants. They can be very irritating to the stomach if they are consumed in large quantities. Who is going to do that? You never know. So what I always say is keep all of the holiday plants out of reach of kids and pets.

    And while we are talking about keeping things out of reach, now that I am here by the cozy fire, I see these beautiful holders for stockings and you know they can potentially be really hazardous. It is so tempting to come and pull a stocking down, And these are quite heavy and can cause either a head injury or in fact could give somebody a cut. So be really careful, how you secure your stockings? It's some much fun to decorate around the holidays. Lots of people decorate their whole house both inside and out. One other tip I like give for folks who are decorating their houses is that if couldn't plan to do major house lightings why can't your roof or somewhere in the exterior of your home, be really aware that you might want to have that done by a professional. Faulty wires or one quick slip and fall, could result in a holiday disaster. Lit candles and hot wax dripping say form a manora can really be potentially very dangerous. So make sure that you keep those away from the wall, out of reach of children so that nobody or nothing winds up getting burnt. Every year around this time I see an increase in number of patients who come to the emergency room with cuts and burns. When you carving a holiday turkey sometimes you get your fingers too if you are not exactly paying attention, especially when there is a huge number of people gathering in a kitchen for holiday fun. It is easy to burn yourself on the oven or even on a candle. So you have got to use your common sense and be really careful. Pay attention to what you are doing and if you add alcohol to the mix, boy you have really got trouble. So be careful pay attention and don't get hurt.

    I don't know about you but I love a holiday buffet. I have little bit of absolutely everything. There is nothing like a big spread of food to get the holiday party started. One thing I do need to talk about though is the importance of keeping your hot food hot and cold foods cold. You want anything to be left up for too long because you run the risk of getting food poisoning. If you wind up with food poisoning which is characterized by nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea, know that there is no magic medicine to fix it. It just takes time to go away. But what you can do is make sure that you are hydrating yourself really well. Drink lots of water or electrolyte replacement fluid and you will feel a lot better. Speaking of the hydration I think that we need to bring up how to handle over indulging in alcohol. It is a common thing around the holiday season and one thing that I would recommend is to try to make sure that you stay hydrated, constantly throughout a party as well as afterwards. You don't want to wake up the next morning to be dealing with it. So here is what to do. For every one drink of alcohol that you have, have a full glass of water in between, you will feel more full, you will stay hydrated and you will be less likely to be regretting in the morning. And the final thing drink in moderation, don't drink too much. You will have much more fun. I hope that what we have talked about today is going to be helpful for you in preventing some very common holiday injuries and health hazards. Have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year.