Most families enjoy the holiday season accident free. However, the hours of cooking, gluttony, binge drinking and stress are the perfect ingredients for accidents that no one will be thankful for.

Cuts … the really bad ones

Too many cooks in the kitchen inevitably leads to distraction, which is quite dangerous when you have a sharp knife in your hand. We see all types of cuts and lacerations at the Urgency Room and strongly suggest you get immediate attention for a cut that:

  • Looks very deep, even if it’s not especially long or wide
  • Is more than a half-inch long
  • Opens so wide that you can’t get the edges together with just a little pressure
  • Has ragged edges
  • Has debris in it such as dirt, glass, or gravel
  • Bleeds enough to soak through a bandage
  • Keeps bleeding even after you apply direct pressure for 5 to 10 minutes

Binge drinking and your heart

Binge drinking can cause something called "holiday heart syndrome," which is abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to stroke and death. Holiday heart syndrome can affect people who are otherwise healthy and be the result of stress, dehydration and drinking, even moderate amounts.

The most common abnormal heart rhythm is called atrial fibrillation, when the upper heart chambers quiver instead of contracting regularly which allows blood to pool inside the heart. In a healthy person who had a few too many drinks, the fibrillation is usually fleeting. But if it persists, it can lead to congestive heart failure or stroke.

Irregular heartbeats are very serious. If you have a heart rate of greater than 120 beats per minute for more than 10-15 minutes at rest, seek care.

Gluttony can hurt, a lot!

It’s no secret that the holiday season is a time for overindulgence. After overeating, we have all experienced stomach upset and indigestion. If symptoms are worse than usual or don't resolve with typical antacids, head to the clinic. Sometimes what seems like acid indigestion can be a more serious problem such as gallstones, pancreatitis or even a heart attack. That’s right, big meals can also raise the risk for a heart attack. According to research from the Mayo Clinic, heavy consumption of fatty foods can lead to changes that cause blood to clot more easily.

Other serious risks from eating too much include gallbladder pain and even drowsiness on the drive home after dinner with family or friends.

Burns

Most of us have experienced a burn whether touching a hot pan or having coffee, or in this case, boiling gravy accidentally dumped in our lap. They key to treating a burn is knowing whether it is serious or not.

If the burn is not deep and smaller than the size of your palm it is possible to be treated at home. However, if the burn is on your face, genitals or major joints, you should see a doctor. You’ll also need to determine the type of burn:

  • Superficial or first-degree burns result in reddened skin without blisters. These types of burns can be treated at home.
  • Partial thickness or second-degree burns cause reddened skin with blisters. It’s best to have a doctor assess this type of burn.
  • Full thickness or third-degree burns are characterized by white or charred skin. The area loses sensation to pain and touch. This type of burn often needs a skin graft to prevent bad scarring.

Too many germs too close to great-grandma

With cold and flu season come an added risk to the elderly, or family members with compromised immune systems. The solution is simple: encourage guests to wash hands frequently and get a flu shot at least 10 days before your holiday get-together to better protect yourself and your loved ones.

Did you get a flu shot this season?

Thank you for voting!

  • You bet — it just makes sense.

    68%

  • No, not for me.

    26%

  • Not yet, but still planning to.

    6%