Holiday Dangers That Could Lead to ER Visits from Holiday Dangers That Could Lead to ER Visits

Holiday Dangers That Could Lead to ER Visits

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Holiday Dangers That Could Lead to ER Visits

While the holidays bring cheer, they also bring some hidden dangers. Emergency room visits often increase due to holiday-related injuries. “The holiday season is a time for celebration and merriment, but also a time when the likelihood of accidents increases,” says Dr. Tania Elliott, Chief Medical Officer of EHE, the leading preventive healthcare company. “Take extra caution around holiday decorations, don’t overindulge with food and spirits, and wash hands frequently to ensure a safe and healthy holiday season.”

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Artificial snow

While it looks festive and pretty, spraying artificial snow can cause lung irritation or an allergic reaction. “When using a spray can, it is important to ensure that the mouth and nose are properly protected to avoid inhaling a toxic substance,” says Dr. Elliott. “Protect hands and arms when spraying artificial snow to avoid skin irritation, absorption through the skin, or allergic reactions.”

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Holiday plants

Poinsettias are a common holiday decoration, but they are poisonous. Keep them out of reach of children (and pets). The same applies to holly, which also has poisonous red berries. “Symptoms of ingesting poinsettia plants include rashes, vomiting, and other allergic reactions,” warns Dr. Elliott. “If poinsettias and other toxic plants are in the home, make sure to have them out of reach of children and it is a good idea to have the number for poison control on hand.”  

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Wrapping paper

Beyond the common paper cut, wrapping paper is a danger when left on the floor, especially after the flurry of gift unwrapping. The smooth paper is a culprit in causing slips, trips, and falls. “The holidays are time when toys, wrapping paper, and even fallen decorations are on the floor,” says Dr. Elliott. “Make sure to watch your step and have kids pick up as soon as possible.”

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Adding kindling to the fire

While it might seems tempting to throw the used wrapping paper and discarded toy packaging into the fire, these items can contain toxic chemicals that could be dangerous when inhaled. Instead, recycle when possible or dispose of with other household garbage. And don’t be tempted to throw a tree in the fireplace after the season.

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House guests (or being a guest)

Medicine and poor lighting are two big offenders in causing houseguest accidents. Make sure all medication is labeled correctly and put away somewhere secure to avoid accidental ingestion by children. Add extra nightlights and easy access lamps for overnight guests to avoid having someone stumble around in the dark and tripping. 

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Food gifts

When visiting someone’s home, it is traditional to bring homemade cookies and pies, but make sure you aren’t gifting them food poisoning or an allergic reaction. Take caution in preparation and refrigeration, especially when transporting food in heated cars for long distances. “It is very important to let hosts and other guests know of the ingredients of homemade food gifts and if they were prepared near allergy causing foods,” says Dr. Elliott. “Even if an allergen such as a nut isn’t in the dish, but prepared with the same kitchen tools, there is a potential for an allergic reaction. When visiting others, always have an epi-pen if you have food allergies.”  

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Christmas tree ornaments

While most know about the dangers of Christmas lights, many forget that ornaments can be hazardous to small children and pets. Metal hooks, small parts, and toxic paints can send a child to the ER if swallowed. “Beware of hand-made ornaments because they may contain lead paint,” Dr. Elliott says. “This is especially true for vintage ornaments.

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The Christmas tree

You need to make sure that the tree, which is perhaps the most interesting holiday object in the house, especially for children, is firmly secured so it won’t topple over. “Secure it to the wall or at least use wide metal base, not a plastic one,” Dr. Elliott says.

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Candles

Sure, candles add ambience but the smoke gets congested in the air and can cause allergy-like symptoms. “Keep the window cracked or the door open,” Dr. Elliott says, so the air keeps circulating.  Or, to be on the safe side, use battery-operated flameless candles.

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Snow on the ground

“Once the snow hits the ground, it’s off the table,” Dr. Elliott says. Would you pick something off the street and eat it? Probably not because it’s too dirty and it has come in contact with everything toxic that is on the street. The logic is the same when it comes to snow.

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Button batteries

Unfortunately, many holiday toys need these small batteries because the gadgets themselves are particularly small. These batteries are tiny enough to be ingested, Dr. Elliott says, and can cause serious health problems. Coin-size lithium batteries may even lead to death in a matter of hours if swallowed, according to AAP.

Holiday Dangers That Could Lead to ER Visits