There’s a lot of things to make sure you do right during the holidays. And making sure you and your family stay safe should be on the top of that list. We attended an event recently at Northwell Health – GoHealth Urgent Care, hosted by Dr. Neal Shipley MD, MBA, FACEP, Regional Medical Director, GoHealth Urgent Care where we got to talk about ways to stay safe during this holiday season. Dr. Shipley covered a lot of information and I’m going to discuss what I think is most urgent.
One thing you might not think about is decoration safety, but here are some scary stats and ways you can keep safe.
Holiday Decoration Safety Facts and Tips
- More than 12,000 people are treated in the nation’s emergency rooms each year due to falls, cuts, electrical shocks and burns from faulty holiday decorations or accidents that occur while putting decorations in place
- Check decorative lights to make sure they are not broken and the wires are not bare or frayed. Turn off all decorative lights before going to bed or leaving the house
- Don’t use indoor extension cords outdoors and use grounded extension cords
- Keep fire extinguishers handy
- Use proper “elevation “ devices (ladder or stepstool- not a chair, bookcase, or standing on someone’s shoulders….)
- Avoid using sharp decorations and ornaments.
- Keep Christmas trees away from fireplaces or other areas where high heat is present.
- When buying an artificial tree, be sure the label indicates it is “fire resistant.”
- When buying a live tree, check for freshness (green, full of needles, sticky trunk). Fresh trees are less of a fire hazard and should be watered frequently
And speaking of keeping safe, be careful wth holiday plants.
Surprisingly, you’d have to eat 500 of these leaves to get sick. It may cause nausea and vomiting but they taste very bad…same for your pets. The sap is irritating, but not very harmful.
All parts of Mistletoe are potentially toxic, but the berries are the worst – they will cause nausea and vomiting. In severe cases, ingestion can cause the heart rate to slow and cause seizures. While there haven’t been fatalities, it’s also not good for pets.
Holly is probably the most dangerous of the holiday plants. The berries can cause vomiting and diarrhea and there have been rare fatalities in children that ate less than 20 berries. The risk is the bright red berries falling to the floor and being eaten by children or pets.
And don’t forget about Toy Safety!
- Toy injuries resulted in 185,000 ED visits in 2015
- Select toys to suit age, abilities, skills & the child’s interest
- For infants & toddlers, avoid toys with small parts (choking)
- Don’t buy electric toys with heating elements for children under 8
- Read the label and use the age guidelines for that toy; buy associated safety gear
- Toys have a correct location as well ̶̶ like no scooters in the living room
- Look for sturdy construction and tightly secured small parts
- Discard plastic wrappings immediately (suffocation hazard)
- Call consumer product safety commission (CPSC) hotline 800-638-2772 to report dangerous toys
- Check the government recall list on the internet at www.Cpsc.Gov
If your primary care physician is unavailable and you don’t need the emergency room, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care is here to offer a more emotionally gratifying experience than traditional urgent care. Every patient is treated with a superior level of care and kindness. You can even bring your children (Children over 6 months old are treated). Plus, you can check in online (and see wait times for the location closest to you).
They in-network participating providers in many commercial insurance plans. See their In-Network Insurance page for a full list of health plans in which GoHealth Urgent Care and its providers are in-network participating providers. For patients without health insurance, they offer affordable self, pay rates.