Common Holiday Mishaps and How to Avoid Them

While the holiday season is getting into full swing, your festive spirit can turn sour if a trip to an emergency center interrupts your holiday plans. Richard Owens, M.D., an emergency medicine physician affiliated with Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center at Greater Heights, offers these tips to avoid some common holiday mishaps.

Decorating Injuries – A lot of people injure their backs while getting holiday decorations out of storage or from falling off ladders while attempting to hang lights and put up decorations. Be extra careful and have someone spot you when using a ladder and get help when lifting heavy boxes.

Cooking Injuries – It just takes one distracted moment for a person to cut their hand while carving a turkey, get burned by splashing grease or drop a hot pot or pan on their feet.  Remember not to rush when using knives and other utensils in the kitchen and always use oven mitts to protect your hands from hot objects. Also, make sure you are familiar with how to operate  any carving tools you might be using.

“Holiday Heart” – Overeating can actually trigger a heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, especially if you have pre-existing heart disease.  An irregular heartbeat may make you feel dizzy and fatigued, or like you have a “fluttering” in your chest.  You can help avoid this by enjoying holiday treats in moderation!

Food Poisoning – Be sure to seal and store leftover foods properly. After three or four days in the refrigerator, it’s time to throw them out. Also, if you have food allergies, be sure to ask about the ingredients in dishes at your holiday potluck or gatherings.

“This is also a time when we see a lot of alcohol-related injuries, including those caused by drunk driving. If you are planning to consume alcohol, make plans ahead of time, whether that’s having a designated driver, using a ride sharing app, or calling a taxi,” reminds Dr. Owens. “Even if you aren’t driving, always consume alcohol in moderation to reduce your risk of falls and other alcohol related injuries.”

Should an emergency arise, Memorial Hermann offers 19 emergency centers throughout the Greater Houston area, prepared to treat everything from serious burns to chest pains. For urgent but not emergent needs, physicians at Memorial Hermann Urgent Care welcome walk-in patients from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

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