Some tips for a safer, healthier holiday
December 24, 2007
Getting hurt or sick is out of control during the holidays. Although I’m not a doctor, (I don’t even play one on TV), I’d like to use this column to remind readers of three key health and safety tips so you and your family can get the most out of this holiday season.
Emergency room docs tell me that people, (surprise it’s mostly men), are always finding a way to get hurt. During the holidays it’s usually because of falling off ladders while decorating. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 17,000 people get treated every year in U.S. hospital emergency departments for holiday-decorating related falls.
I suspect it all starts with one of two things happening: a woman telling us to hang something up, or it’s simply our primal drive to build, create or show off.
Either way, we find ourselves on a ladder reaching over way too far or hanging off of something up high with a hammer in one hand and a couple of nails in our mouth.
Add some holiday brew, a football game on TV, a random thought or two and the next thing you know we’re face-down, ground-level, grimacing and sucking strained air through clenched teeth saying, “honey … get-the-car-keys … hospital … now.”
So, make sure the ladder is on level ground. Ladies, offer to hold the ladder while he’s hanging something. Don’t stand on those top two steps. Don’t over-reach. Don’t be in a rush. Focus on the task at hand and we’ll keep the number of fall-related ER visits to a minimum this season.
Screech (vehicle accidents)
I keep a morbid collection of digital photos of vehicle wrecks that I pass while driving.
I must have two dozen pictures of ditched SUV’s, flipped-over pickups, jack-knifed tractor trailers and other mangled, unidentifiable vehicles.
I casually snap these shots with my cell phone camera while being waved through accident scenes by highway patrol officers. I take these pictures to remind myself to slow my roll. So how about this for a crazy idea: Slow down and focus when driving.
We do everything so fast that the second our foot presses a pedal that controls horsepower we automatically think, “Here’s my chance to get ahead of everybody else.”
We just need to slow down and get ready for holiday get-togethers sooner so we’re not rushed and end up speeding on the highways endangering ourselves, our families and this concept ” other people.
Cough-cough, sniffle-sniffle (cold and flu)
Everybody gets paranoid during the holidays about getting someone else’s germs.
Our first reaction is always about how someone else must have gotten us sick.
Yep, we’d love to blame others and not even consider that high stress involving overspending, overactivity, overeating, overdrinking or any other excessive holiday behavior might have weakened our immune systems making us more susceptible than usual.
“All right I’ve had it,” our immune system finally shouts, “Get sick ya’ yahoo.”
Most of our immune systems do a pretty good job of fending off common viruses naturally if our behaviors are conducive to health. So let’s do our best not to overindulge in anything ” “everything in moderation” right? Also consider getting off the couch during the football or movie marathons and go for a walk and get fresh air to balance things out.
These aren’t the only holiday pointers to maintain health and safety during the holidays. There’s also having proper vaccinations, washing hands thoroughly and often, avoid smoke both direct and second-hand, fasten seat belts, stay warm and dry when outdoors and practice fire safety with holiday decorations.
I’m sure you can think of more, but if you just pick a few to be cognizant of this will be a safer and healthier holiday season for all to enjoy and remember.
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