Deck the Halls with Holiday Health Hazards

Posted by Richard Jacobson

The holidays are quickly approaching; and in addition to the usual hustle and bustle of the season, this time of year also introduces a unique set of health risks. Here are some common holiday pitfalls, which many of us will encounter in one way or another, from now into the New Year.

Too Much “Eggnog?”

EggnogExcessive drinking tops the list of potential hazards during this jolly time of year. When mixed with holiday travel—mainly driving—the odds of emergency room visits and fatalities increase greatly.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about three dozen traffic fatalities occur daily on average in the United States as a result of drunk driving. During the Christmas season, that figure rises to an average of 45 fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver daily—a number that soars to 54 per day during the New Year’s holiday.

Wherever you're traveling this holiday season, help ensure your trip is safe. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let anyone else drink and drive.

Tis’ the Season to Overeat

Holiday DinnerConstantly being surrounded by delicious foods this time of year may tempt even the most health-conscious individuals to indulge in things they would normally avoid.

Overeating is an overlooked but major problem during the holidays, particularly for those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic health problems. While the often-cited average of seven pounds gained over the holidays is a myth, many people do gain weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, which can pose serious health concerns. Concerns which inevitably lead to costly insurance claims down the road.

Take extra caution of what you are eating. Be aware of any underlying health conditions and consider the impact of salty, sweet and high sugar content foods.

Decorating like the Griswolds

Holiday decoratingInjuries are surprisingly common during the holiday season. One of the key drivers behind this uptick in injuries is the “dangerous” task of hanging decorations. When all is said and done, putting up festive decorations can turn your house into an obstacle course rather than a winter wonderland.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS), there are about 250 injuries per day during the holiday season. Between November and December 2014, CPCS estimated that emergency departments saw 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating nationwide. Falling from a ladder may be funny in holiday movies, but in real life these mishaps can result in visits to the emergency room and thousands of dollars in claims each year.

Keep decorating tasks manageable this year, be exceptionally cautious and avoid any excess strain. By taking some basic precautions, you can guarantee your whole family remains safe and injury-free throughout the holiday season.

The holiday season is a time of festivities, family and feasting, but for many it can also be a stress-filled time riddled with health risks. Brighten your holiday this year by making your health and safety a priority. Take the necessary steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy, and ready to enjoy the holidays!