This season is a time for celebration, but various health risks and dangerous activities can prevent you from staying safe during the holidays. These holiday safety tips will help you spend your more time enjoying delicious food, festive decor and your loved ones — and less time at the doctor’s office.
Deck the Halls, Prevent the Falls
Take extra precaution when stringing lights or putting your blow-up Santa on the roof. Each year, at least five people die and more than 18,000 people need to seek emergency care due to injuries sustained while decorating for the holidays. Make sure your ladder is sturdy and you have someone spotting you at all times. Also, only climb when it’s light outside. You should use ladders with indoor decor, as well, rather than chairs or tables.
Be Cautious in the Kitchen
Avoiding cuts and burns while cooking is another essential part of staying safe during the holidays. Have a supply of pot holders and oven mitts on hand, and don’t touch any dish or plate that may still be hot. Keep a first aid kit nearby and stay alert when using a knife, whether you’re carving the ham or chopping up the vegetable tray. If you do cut yourself, wash the wound, bandage it and visit the emergency department if you experience excessive bleeding. Make sure there aren’t too many cooks in the kitchen and keep small children out of the way, as well.
Check in on Your Mental Health
For many, this may not be the most wonderful time of the year. Did you know 64% of people with a mental disorder reported that the holidays worsen their symptoms? Behavioral problems tend to be amplified during this season, whether you are experiencing depression due to loneliness or feeling anxious about gift shopping, parties or seeing certain family members.
If this sounds like you, there are plenty of measures you can take ahead of time to prepare yourself for stressful situations. Here are some mental health holiday safety tips to help you feel more like yourself:
- Set aside differences with those in your family whom you disagree with on certain issues — within reason, of course.
- Continue your healthy habits. Get plenty of sleep, minimize substance use and eat healthy foods.
- Say no to tasks, events or commitments when your plate is full to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Make time for yourself. Meditate, read your favorite book, go for a walk or listen to calm music.
- Check out our diverse collection of mental health blogs.
- Seek counseling if your feelings of anxiety or depression persist.
If you don’t have a mental disorder, be mindful of others who do. Pay attention to family and friends who may be struggling and check in with them often.
Don’t Overdo Your Eating and Drinking
Holiday foods are filled with excess sugar, salt and fat. As you enjoy your favorite feasts and treats, do so in moderation. In Arizona, you also have the option to turn your post-meal nap into a walk or hike to burn off some calories and get your blood flowing.
Many people are also prone to binge drinking during holiday festivities. In fact, Americans double their drinking habits between Thanksgiving and New Year’s! Drink plenty of water, space out your beverages and keep track of your intake to avoid alcohol poisoning. If you do end up drinking too much, always be sure you have a sober driver. And, if you’re the host, have a place for intoxicated guests to stay overnight. 28% of fatal crashes in December involve drunk drivers, so plan ahead to ensure you and your loved ones don’t become part of this unfortunate statistic.
Remember, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. If you’re gathering with extended family, make sure you and your loved ones are vaccinated. If you aren’t vaccinated yet, there are plenty of Valleywise Health locations across Maricopa County that can give you the shot for free. Being vaccinated will give you peace of mind, so you won’t have to worry about hugging grandma or cooking a casserole for all to share.
Regardless of your vaccination status, be sure to still follow CDC guidelines: wear a mask, stay at least six feet apart and wash your hands frequently. With these holiday safety tips in mind, you can have a wonderful, healthy holiday season surrounded by the ones you love most.