A Few Tips to Avoid the ER this Holiday Season
By Jim Dwyer, MD, Chief, Emergency Medicine, Northern Westchester Hospital
There are many reasons people find themselves in the emergency room over the holidays. Perhaps the most common mishap sending people there during the holiday season is slipping and falling on the ice. This is also something I see throughout the entire winter season. Salting driveways and walkways will help. Those who are unsteady on their feet under normal conditions should stay inside until they are sure walkways are safe.
Automobile accidents also increase during the holiday season due to the snow and ice as well as increased traffic from shopping. If the weather is bad, do your shopping online and save the visit to the stores for when the roads are safe.
Drinking alcoholic beverages to excess also brings people to the emergency room during the holiday season. Take it easy at the holiday party and make sure to arrange a safe ride home in advance.
We often see patients on Christmas Day with hand lacerations from carving the roast. Avoid multitasking and distractions when you have a knife in your hand.
Any gifts that require assembly or have small parts should be kept away from toddlers. We see all types of foreign bodies, some ingested, some in the ears, some in the nose.
In order to prevent house fires, avoid candles. Watering the Christmas tree well is essential and having a fire extinguisher handy is a must. Dispose of the Christmas tree promptly if it becomes dry. Some of the worst holiday tragedies occur as a result of house fires.
Although the holidays are a happy time for most, for others this time of year can cause feelings of depression. Missing loved ones who have passed on or longing for happier days gone by can even lead to thoughts of suicide. Anyone feeling depressed or suicidal should go to their local emergency room to seek help.
Wishing you a happy and safe holiday.