The holidays are once again upon us bringing joy, wishes for good health, happiness and, unfortunately, hazards. As we push ourselves to take advantage of all the holidays have to offer, we may stumble across some holiday hazards that we need to avoid.

Here are five holiday hazards and how to keep them from ruining the season.

  • Holiday Decorations: Most holiday decorations are fun and festive, but there are some that rely heavily on glitter, artificial scents and cinnamon, which make their way into the lungs of small children. We all remember the wonder of special ornaments or tabletop decorations and how we got close for a better look. Just be sure that if you do have these types of decorations, put them up and out-of-the-way of young faces.
  • Snow Shoveling: Snow is cold, wet and heavy. Shoveling three, four, six and more inches of it can strain your heart enough to cause a heart attack. Shoveling snow is so stressful on your heart it’s likened to exercising full throttle on a treadmill, yikes! Those most at risk from doing this winter chore are people who’ve had a prior heart attack, those with heart disease, high cholesterol, blood pressure, smokers and those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Take precautions by warming up your muscles first, using a smaller shovel and taking lots of breaks. Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Remember you can always call someone to have it removed for you.
  • Air Pollution: A roaring fire and spicy-smelling candles help set the holiday mood, but they also contribute to the air pollution in your home which causes headaches, respiratory problems and frequent colds. Add the smoke and fumes from fires to other indoor contaminants, like cooking food, laundry detergent, soap and cleaners, and you’ve built up even more air pollutants inside your tightly-closed up home. Combat this by running fans to circulate the air and open a door just long enough to allow fresh air in.
  • Depression: Winter depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sets in when the weather turns chilly and the days get darker. It’s thought to occur when the body becomes out of sync due to reduced sunlight. This condition affects about 9 million people in the United States; money troubles and stress from family get-togethers can worsen depression. To ease the effects of SAD, try to get outside as much as possible when the sun is shining; taking a vitamin D supplement may also help. Remember to avoid stressful situations, even if that means saying “no” and don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling.
  • Fire/Burns: Candles, fireplaces and a 24-hour kitchen ramp-up all increase your chances of starting a fire or getting burned. Prevention is key to avoiding this hazard. Remember to never leave a flame unattended, get your fireplace checked yearly, always have a fire extinguisher nearby and keep children away from stoves and fireplaces. The best way to soothe a burn is with cool, running water.

While following these tips can help to have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season, accidents and illness happen no matter what time of year it is. Family Health Care is here when you need help most, connect with us to make an appointment and if it’s after-hours, reserve a time online at one of our Urgent Care locations.

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