It’s supposed to be the season of goodwill for all, but the holiday season is fraught with danger.
In recent years, 2.6 million people have fallen from stools or ladders while hanging decorations, while more than 350 people are injured by colored lights every year, according to the Royal Society for Accident Prevention.
To make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, we’ve highlighted a dozen dangers you should be aware of.
A BUCK’S soda here, a glass of mulled wine there—these really add up.
Ashley Martin, public health adviser at the Royal Society for Accident Prevention, said: “It is very important that you never drink and drive, remember that accidents often happen, even at home, when you let your guard down, so make sure you don’t drink and drive. Make sure children are supervised at times.
“One effect of alcohol consumption is loss of balance, so if you’re with someone who’s been drinking too much, make sure to help them out when they need to travel to some tricky places, like going down steps.”
Christmas is meant to be a time of joy, but it can also be a very lonely time if you feel like you have no one to turn to.
GP Dr Thuva Amuthan said: “Take a moment to think about all that you value, and all that you are grateful for.
“If you’re feeling down, talk to those around you. Talk to your GP about local support for mental health, support lines like Samaritans (116 123) are open 24/7.
“You can also self-refer to NHS talk therapy without a GP.”
Nailing the mistletoe can have a very different feel—be careful when climbing up to adjust last-minute Christmas decorations.
“If you’re using a chair to hold the decor, make sure it’s sturdy and durable,” says Ashley. Ideally, use a step stool or ladder.
“If you can’t easily reach the area you want to decorate, find a more logical location.
“Try setting up the decorations with other people to make sure you’re not alone in the event of an accident.”
All those pigs in blankets and cheese – how could you say no to that?
But Dr. Amuthan says: “Try to be mindful of your portion sizes. Eat a balanced diet with five different servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
“If you’re feeling bloated, close your mouth and chew your food carefully, and drink plenty of fluids when you eat.
“Try to eat small, frequent meals and exercise regularly to improve digestion.
“The pharmacy can help with indigestion, but if that doesn’t help, see your GP.”
Be careful when turning your fairy lights on and off, and watch out for wires around. You don’t want to get electrocuted.
Ashley says: “Always buy from a reputable store. Never insert or remove a bulb while it is on.
“Always check cables and bulbs for damage. If you leave your lights outside, use only lights designed for that purpose.”
It’s easy to take your eyes off the ball during a celebration, but it can lead to injury.
Ashley said: “Give yourself plenty of time to prepare and cook Christmas dinner to avoid the inevitable accidents caused by rushing.
“When chopping, avoid distractions that can make you more likely to cut yourself. Wipe up any spills quickly.
“Make sure toys and other gifts are purchased from trusted retailers and check products for sharp edges, choking hazards or anything that could harm children before gifting.”
up and down
Kids can get hyped about candy and presents, making taking the stairs even more dangerous than usual.
Ashley said: “Lead by example and make sure you don’t rush down the stairs.
“Many slips and trips happen away from the stairs, so keep confusion to a minimum.
“You should also try to make sure stairs and other areas are well lit and clear of obstructions.”
feeling so hot
Manipulating a turkey in and out of the oven and lighting up a Christmas pudding is a disaster waiting to happen.
“To avoid burns, wear oven mitts when handling anything that’s been in the oven recently,” Ashley says.
“Don’t try to use tea towels, especially wet towels, as they conduct heat faster.
“Keep decorations and cards away from sources of fire and heat, such as lamps, and don’t leave burning candles unattended.”
Last week, four young children died in a frozen lake, a tragic reminder that ice can be deadly.
Ashley said: “Be aware of the dangers. Check the weather forecast before you go.
“More than 50 percent of ice-related drownings involve trying to rescue another person or a dog. In many cases, the dog made it ashore alone without the owner.
“Don’t throw balls to dogs near frozen water, and don’t try to venture out onto the ice to rescue them if they get into trouble.”
No one wants to eat a turkey with a food poisoning side.
“Make sure food is cooked thoroughly before serving,” Dr Amuthan said.
“Put any leftovers in the refrigerator in a container away from undercooked food and make sure to reheat leftovers thoroughly.
“If someone develops food poisoning, it’s important to maintain fluid intake.
“If your symptoms don’t improve within 24 hours or if you have blood in your vomit, you feel dehydrated or unable to stay hydrated, call 111.”
Allergies can strike at any time, so be sure to check the labels of your holiday favorites to avoid adverse reactions.
Dr Amuthan said: “Many Christmas treats may contain milk, eggs and nuts, which are common allergens.
“Also, be aware of Christmas tree allergies.
“It had cold-like symptoms, a runny nose and sneezing.
“It’s worth stocking up on antihistamines before Christmas, just in case.”
Avoid walking around with trees on your back.
Ashley said: “Before picking up a heavy object like a Christmas tree, always bend your knees and ask for help if it’s too difficult to move on your own.
“Loss of footing can lead to serious falls and is one of the leading causes of accidents in the home.”
Also remember to tighten your abdominal muscles when picking up the kids or bending over to grab a present from under the tree – it will help protect your back.