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Here are 6 ways to enjoy the holidays without making a trip to the hospital.

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One of the busiest times of year for emergency room visits is during the holiday season. The number of car accidents, heart attacks, cooking injuries, falls and house fires increase at this time of year.

Here are 6 tips to keep you and your loved ones safe and out of the ER this holiday season:
  1. Don’t drink and drive. Each year, about 2-3 times more people die in alcohol-related crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than during the rest of the year. And more than 25,000 people will be injured. If you plan on drinking, have a designated driver or call a cab or a ride share service.
  2. Watch what you eat and drink. Christmas is the most common day for heart attacks. Having a big, fatty meal or drinking excessively contributes to a spike in heart issues during this time. Binge drinkers run the risk of a condition known as holiday heart syndrome. Symptoms include an irregular heartbeat pattern that may develop in people who are otherwise healthy. Food-borne illnesses can also send you to the ER during holiday festivities.
  3. Use caution in the kitchen. Cooking for family and friends can be rewarding but a combination of high heat and sharp objects, coupled with stress and distraction, can land you in the ER with burns or cuts. Take your time and pay attention to what you’re doing. Wipe up spills quickly to avoid slips and falls.
  4. Decorate carefully. Thousands of people wind up in the ER each year after falling from ladders and roofs while decorating. If you don’t feel comfortable getting on a ladder to string lights, ask a friend or family member to help. And never use ladders while drinking.
  5. Prevent house fires. Lit candles may help set the mood but they are a common cause of house fires. Never leave a candle unattended and don’t place candles near flammable materials such as drapes. Don’t overload electrical outlets. Clean chimneys before using the fireplace.
  6. Keep visitors safe. When people are vistiing, it is important to take extra safety precautions. Secure rugs, remove obstacles and make sure your home is well lit if older people are visiting. If young children will be in the house, check for choking hazards, protect outlets and guard stairs and sharp edges.

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Date Last Reviewed: September 17, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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