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Celebrate Safely: How to Avoid 4 Common Holiday Injuries

Posted on December 12, 2017 and filed under Urgent Care Blog

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year—but it’s also the most dangerous. In fact, between 12,000 and 15,000 people require immediate medical attention each year as a result of holiday injuries. Fortunately, you and your family can avoid these common Christmas injuries with a few safety tips. But if a holiday injury occurs, remember that MD Now offers fast and convenient treatment for injuries at all of our South Florida locations, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year – including holidays.

1. Use Caution When Hanging Holiday Lights and Decorations

If you’re not careful, showing some holiday cheer can result in a hospital visit. Decorations are the leading cause of hospitalization during the holidays, with many people sustaining knee injuries from falling. Even a fall from a few feet can cause a concussion, sprains, or broken bones. Here’s how you can avoid a fall injury or knee injuries from falling this holiday season:

  • Don’t decorate by yourself: Always decorate with a friend or family member nearby. And the same goes for your family members and friends—offer to help them decorate, especially if they are elderly.
  • Don’t drink while decorating: Save the eggnog for after your decorating project, since alcohol increases the chances of a fall injury.
  • Make sure your ladder is secure: Never use a ladder with broken rungs, as this greatly increases the risk of injury. It’s also important to ensure that you don’t exceed the ladder’s weight limit. Place the ladder on level ground, and don’t forget to follow the 4-to-1 rule: For every four feet of height you climb, move the ladder’s base one foot away from the building.
  • Keep kids on the ground: Your children might want to help you decorate, but they’re much safer handing out tools or helping to steady the ladder.

2. Unwrap Gifts Carefully

Unwrapping gifts can be exciting, but hastily cutting into packages can result in a holiday injury. Using knives, scissors, and other sharp objects to poke open presents can result in puncture wounds and lacerations. While a cut injury usually isn’t life threatening, urgent care may be required if the wound won’t stop bleeding or if other symptoms occur.

Avoiding a cut injury is simple: don’t use dull kitchen knives, pens, and other inappropriate tools to tear open gifts. If you need a blade to open a cardboard box, try a safety blade. Always cut away from yourself and others, and never let small children handle sharp objects. Assist your children if they’re having difficulty opening gifts.

3. Practice Fire Safety Around Decorations and Candles

A perfectly lit Christmas tree and luminous candles can brighten any room, but they can also cause fire injuries. Between 2010 and 2012, more than 400 fires occurred as a result of Christmas trees igniting. Candles can also be hazardous if not used safely—these seemingly innocent decorations cause approximately 6,500 home fires annually. Plus, holiday lights and candles can cause burns when not handled properly.

While practicing good fire safety habits is necessary year-round, it’s especially important during the holidays. If you don’t want your valued possessions roasting over an open fire, follow these tips:

  • Purchase safe lights: Check the package of lights before you buy—it should be clearly marked as tested for safety. Consider using LED lights, which are energy-efficient and run cooler than traditional strands, helping you avoid fire injuries.
  • Check lights for damage: Strands with frayed wires and broken bulbs can pose a fire threat. Discard any lights that appear damaged.
  • Choose an artificial tree: Artificial trees are less likely to catch fire than their natural counterparts. Better yet, choose an artificial tree with a “fire resistant” label.

4. Handle Christmas Trees with Care

Nothing says “the holidays” quite like freshly cut Christmas trees, but their beautiful boughs can be difficult to handle. Real trees are often much heavier than they look, so you run the risk of a back injury if you try to carry one alone. If you are lifting a heavy tree, remember to lift with your legs instead of your back to avoid a back injury.

Adding trimming and ornaments to your tree also poses a holiday injury risk. Sharp, heavy, and breakable ornaments can fall and hit someone, and shattered orbs can easily cut hands. Avoid using ornaments that look edible or have small removable parts, as they can pose a choking hazard to children.

Don’t let Christmas injuries ruin your celebration—stay safe this season with these simple tips. If you suffer a holiday injury, immediately visit your local MD Now Urgent Care center for treatment.

To learn more about our urgent care centers, call 888-MDNow-911 or visit www.MDNow.com.

MD Now® Urgent Care Walk-In Medical Centers is the leading provider of fast and affordable urgent care to adults and children in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. Our state-of-the-art, walk-in medical centers are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to deliver an affordable and convenient alternative to long emergency room wait times and the limited hours of family physicians. No appointment is necessary and major insurance plans are accepted. In addition to providing a comprehensive range of urgent care services to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries, our multiple locations offer digital x-rays, EKG, ultrasounds, lab testing, physicals, immunizations, vaccines, physical therapy, occupational medicine, travel medicine and selected primary care services. Find the medical care you need with the convenience you want at MD Now. Call: 888-MDNow-911, online: www.MDNow.com.

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