During holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, emergency rooms and medical clinics are flooded with people who have suffered accidents. The causes can be as simple as raking leaves or chopping an onion, but they can lead to big interruptions to your holiday and even bigger pain and expenses. Below, we’ve outlined 4 of the most common holiday injuries and how you can easily avoid them.
From deep frying turkeys to roasting ham, baking cookies to basting geese, our biggest holidays this season put us at increased risk of burns. We’re cooking more often and for more people, and we probably haven’t made our major dishes since this time last year. We may not remember exactly how much frying oil should be in the pot or how long we should thaw the turkey. We forgot how heavy the roasting pan can be or got distracted by our chatty aunt and didn’t dispose of the hot oil and fat properly. Turkey fryers are notorious for causing burns. Someone can bump us while we’re bent over the open oven. Pots can boil over. If we don’t plan ahead and act carefully, we risk minor or even major burns to our hands, arms, feet, and faces.
Avoid burns by looking up safe prep for your meats and other major dishes ahead of time. Make sure your oven mitts and other safety equipment are in good condition. Try to keep everyone out of the kitchen who isn’t actively helping, and do as much as possible ahead of time so you will be less stressed and busy as you cook.
As with the risk of burns, the risk of cuts rises when we’re cooking more and stressed or hurrying. We might drop a knife or the blades of a food processor into a sink of soapy water, then forget about them. Someone may say our name while we’re carving the turkey and we look up while the knife is still moving. While helping a child open their gift, we could set down our scissors where they can be stepped or sat on. Hurrying to slice or grate a vegetable, we may not notice where we laid our thumb.
Avoid cuts by keeping your knives sharp and in their block or drawer when not in use. Do not put knives in a sink full of water or with other utensils, where they may not be immediately noticed. Keep scissors closed and on a safe, visible location when they aren’t in use. Pay careful attention whenever you’re using and cleaning scissors, knives, graters, box cutters, and other tools with sharp blades and edges.
The gutters are crammed with leaves and we keep having to move the ladder as we string Christmas lights. The store aisles are cluttered with boxes and carts, and someone dripped oil onto the kitchen floor. The kids tore open their gifts, leaving the boxes and wrapping paper scattered on the floor. Although these are normal sights in the last two months of the year, climbing ladders, cluttered walkways, and slippery floors put us at an increased risk of falling. We can injure virtually any part of our bodies during a fall, but back injuries such as spinal cord injuries are most common and can be accompanied by pulled muscles, concussions, and broken bones.
Avoid back injuries by always having someone hold the ladder and never climbing onto the top step of a ladder. Loudly alert everyone in the area when a spill occurs and clean it up immediately. Be especially careful when clutter, boxes, and other tripped hazards are around. Be aware of your surroundings and warn others if you see they are in danger.
It’s part of our society to “make merry” with food and drink during the holiday season. Wine, eggnog, hot toddy, and champagne are closely tied to this season, and social drinking is more common even in people’s homes. Alcoholics Anonymous warns that the risk of relapse is especially high during the holidays. The period of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day also comes with a lot of stresses. Some people find themselves straining beneath the expectations of their family or struggling to afford the gifts and other expenses of this season. People may be forced into close proximity with an estranged family member, and old arguments can resurface. Other people aren’t able to spend their holidays with their families or are grieving loved ones, leaving them unexpectedly lonely or without their usual support systems. Still others feel restless and dissatisfied with where they are in their lives. Facing so much stress and loneliness, many people cope with alcohol. DUI rates soar at this time of year, but so does alcohol poisoning, which is extremely serious and can even be fatal. The symptoms of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, confusion, trouble breathing, blue skin and lips, low body temperature, seizures, and unresponsiveness.
Avoid alcohol poisoning by providing non-alcoholic drinks and not pressuring anyone to partake. Limit the number of alcoholic drinks you consume and be careful not to drink too quickly or without adequate food in your stomach. Check in with loved ones through the holidays, both for your mental health and for theirs.
We at Dellacona Law Firm with you all a safe and joyful holiday season.