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Top 5 Reasons for Hospital Visits During the Holidays

Even though the holiday season is typically synonymous with food, family, and cheer, hospitals all over the world see an increase in emergency room visits. While heavier traffic can certainly mean more car accidents, the most common incidents often take place in the home. Take a look at some of the injuries and illnesses doctors and nurses frequently treat patients for during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

Burns and Cuts
Prepping food for big holiday feasts can easily lead to cooking-related injuries. Knives and other sharp objects can easily be mishandled in all the hustle and bustle of the season, so be mindful of how you use and store them. Hot pots and pans are also abundant, making it a good idea to keep the kitchen clear of any unnecessary helpers, especially those who can barely see over the counter.

Overindulgence
While we may joke about stuffing ourselves fuller than the turkey on the table, overindulgence is actually a very serious and common problem that emergency rooms treat during the holidays. Overeating is especially dangerous to those with hypertension or those who suffer from hyperglycemia. Celebrating with a big meal or a few extra glasses of wine may seem like a great time, but it’s important to eat and drink responsibly to avoid injury or serious blows to your health.

Flu

HospitalVisits

Image via Flickr by samantha celera

Unfortunately, our favorite holidays happen to coincide with flu season. Unsurprisingly, this brings in a lot of ER traffic, especially children. Encourage everyone in the household to practice good hygiene habits year round, such as hand-washing and covering up a sneeze or cough, to reduce the chance that the flu will come knocking. If you or your child are unfortunate enough to fall ill, consider skipping Thanksgiving dinner or other celebrations to avoid spreading the sickness to others.

Domestic Violence
While the holiday season may represent a time for togetherness for most families, domestic violence is actually very common during this period. Sometimes things can get heated when families come together, leading to squabbles or more serious altercations that are elevated by stress and alcohol. Drink responsibly and try to keep a level head, and be sure to report any instances of violence you may witness.

Food Poisoning
Big meals provide ample opportunity for foodborne illnesses to wreak havoc on your family’s health. Proper cooking methods and food handling are key to preventing food poisoning, as well as safely storing leftovers when the meal is over. Avoid leaving food out for too long, so harmful bacteria doesn’t have a chance to take up residence in your mashed potatoes and gravy. Food poisoning isn’t always cause for an ER visit, but it can potentially lead to dangerous levels of dehydration that should be treated immediately.

As the holidays approach, don’t let safety take a backseat to celebration. This is a period that should be enjoyed with loved ones and good cheer, not a trip to the emergency room. Eat and drink responsibly, and try not to let the excitement of the season cloud your judgment.

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