Health Practitioners Warn Against Common Holiday Hazards

With the holidays nearing their peak, health practitioners are warning revelers to be vigilant in preventing common seasonal injuries.

“It’s really surprising how many people are injured during the holidays,” said Donald Phillips, a San Antonio chiropractor, Dec. 7.

Many treasured family traditions have hidden hazards. The good news, according to Consumer Product Safety Commission Chair Elliot Kaye, is that there’s no reason to cut most decorations or traditions out altogether, even if you have children in the house. “There’s a lot of items in the house that aren’t normally there, and I think it’s a good opportunity for parents to teach safety to kids with regard to the holiday season,” he told news station WWLP Dec. 15.

However, celebrators of all ages should be mindful of how they participate in the festivities.

Decorating and Lifting Accidents

The CPSC estimates that in the two months of the holiday season, 13,000 Americans are treated in emergency rooms for injuries caused by decorating mishaps. Slips and ladder accidents are particularly common.

Once decorations are in place, there’s also a risk of fire from Christmas trees and candles. The CPSC recommends that candles be kept far away from trees and all other flammable objects, and that families with live trees keep them watered as the season progresses.

As for all those presents underneath the tree, shopping for and carrying them can lead to back strains.

It’s important not to underestimate the weight of multiple shopping bags or heavy boxes. “This is not the time to be a superhero,” Jennifer Caudle, a family physician, told Fox News. “Take breaks so you’re not standing on your feet the entire day.”

“We definitely see an uptick in acute low back injuries during the holidays,” says Dr. Skylar Gemmer, the clinic director of Life Force Chiropractic in Auburn, Washington. “People should be lifting with their legs, taking more than one trip when handling heavy presents and being extremely careful when putting up decorations, especially on ladders. We help tons of injured people but we’d rather prevent these problems from happening.”

Inhibited Judgment

Alcohol often plays into holiday mishaps when people drink and drive, drink and decorate, or even drink and cook, CNN reports.

And sometimes excitement over a gift can be enough to overcome common sense in both adults and children. It’s recommended that if you’re giving any gifts with wheels — whether that’s a tricycle or a motorcycle — you include the helmet in your gift package. The recipient will want to try it out on Christmas Day, whether they’ve had time to go helmet shopping or not.

It’s best to think ahead and seek treatment as soon as possible when injuries do occur, Phillips says. “The holidays should be a time of joy spent celebrating with friends and family, not suffering from pain.”

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