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Holiday safety means less ER visits

December 01, 2017

At Sampson Regional Medical Center, the holidays are one the busiest times of year for our Emergency Department.

Even during the most festive time of year, the unexpected can happen. Don’t let safety take a backseat to celebration. The most common reasons behind emergency room visits during the holidays can be avoided. Nevertheless, accidents can still happen. Use these tips below to learn how to help your family and friends stay safe and healthy during the holiday season.

Chances are, you will be spending more time in the kitchen with the holidays just around the corner. Proper cooking methods and food handling are key to preventing food poisoning. Some germs, such as Salmonella, only take 15 to 20 cells in undercooked food to cause food poisoning.

Germs from raw meat can transfer to cooked meat; therefore, using a separate plate for cooked and raw meat is key when preparing your meal. Your hands can also easily transfer bacteria; make sure to wash them thoroughly with soap and water after handling meat, poultry, and vegetables. Keep raw meat and its juices away from other food items and countertops as well.

Enjoy but don’t overdo. One of the biggest causes of holiday E.R. trips has to do with overindulgence. Help avoid this by opting for moderation, especially when it comes to caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and fatty foods. Overeating can be especially dangerous to those with hypertension or those who suffer from hyperglycemia. Know your limits and stick to them, always have a designated driver, or use a taxi service to get home.

Look out for things in your home that could prove hazardous during the holidays, including poisonous holiday plants, breakable decorations, and damaged or frayed lights. Keep popular holiday plants, such as holly berries, mistletoe, and poinsettias out of the reach of children and animals. Keep your little ones safe by making sure all breakable decorations are out of reach.

Damaged electrical cords are a common cause of holiday fires in homes. Don’t overload sockets. If you have older lights that have been in storage for a year, examine the wiring and bulb sockets before use. Connect a maximum of three strands of lights together at any given time and avoid using extension cords if possible.

The holidays are meant to be a fun and joyful time with family and friends — not spent in our Emergency Department.