Holiday Health and Safety Tips

screen-shot-2017-12-05-at-4-36-14-am“It’s not a holiday without a trip to the emergency room.”

That may sound like an attempt at dark humor – or something Clark Griswold would say – but for many the saying rings true.

About 12,000 Americans are treated in emergency rooms during November and December due to holiday decorating-related incidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

You can learn ways to stay safe this holiday on the commission’s website ( Also, keep these things in mind:

FOOD SAFETY. Maintain proper food temperatures to guard against spoilage. Ask your holiday guests about possible food allergies.

FIRE SAFETY. Keep live trees watered and away from heat sources. Never leave candles unattended. Christmas tree and candle-related house fires cause an average of 167 deaths and nearly $400 million in property damage annually.

PERSONAL SAFETY. Throw salt on icy walkways. Keep the floor clear of packages, toys and wrappings. Keep extension cords out of areas where people walk, and secure or remove area rugs, which can be tripping hazards particularly for older family members.

In addition to decorating-related injuries, immediate care centers and emergency departments see an increase in just about all types of medical conditions during the “most wonderful time of the year,” including more cases of heart attack.

“Nationally there is a 5 percent increase in the number of heart attacks around Christmas and New Year’s,” said Angela Goldring, APRN, nurse practitioner with Norton Community Medical Associates – Fincastle. “The cause of this increase can be blamed on a combination of stress and overindulgence, among other factors.”

Know the signs of a heart attack or stroke. If your loved one is demonstrating any of the signs or symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Warning signs of a heart attack can include:

• Chest discomfort with heaviness,pressure, aching, burning, fullness or squeezing pain

• Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, left shoulder, neck, back, throat, jaw or stomach

• Shortness of breath with orwithout chest discomfort

• Sudden fatigue

• Nausea or vomiting

• Weakness or lightheadedness

• Cold sweat or perspiration

• Unexplained anxiety

• Heart palpitations

• Increased heart rate

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