Illness and Injury Don’t Take Holidays

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Accidents, illness, and death from certain conditions actually increase during the holidays. With Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve just around the corner, many families are preparing to entertain guests of all ages. As celebrations are being prepared, make safety and health a part of your plans.

The medical providers at Michigan Urgent Care and Occupational Health offer these four tips to keep you safe, healthy, and happy during the holiday season.

Tip #1: Create a Kid-Safe Zone

Entertaining mixed ages can be a challenge for adults to catch up with one another while keeping an eye on children. Often children are given more free range and less supervision. To prevent injury and accidents, designate separate adult-only and kid-friendly spaces. These boundaries should be clearly communicated to all who gather.

Alcoholic beverages, sharp knives, burning candles, and other hazards for children should be kept in adult-only designated spaces read here.

Kids enjoy being able to assert their independence and forge relationships with friends and family they may only see during the holidays. Create a safe, fun zone especially for them. Set up the special area with coloring books, crafts, and child-appropriate movies playing. Allow them to graze on healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese and whole grain crackers, and water. With kids having fun in their area, parents are sure to relax and enjoy their time a bit more.

Tip #2: Have a First Aid Kit Handy

Cuts, burns, and falls are common accidents during the holiday season. Keeping a well-stocked first aid kit close by will improve the response time to an at-home injury, and will ensure the right products are available.  A well equipped first aid kit should include:
  • Tweezers
  • Sterile Gauze Pads
  • Roller Bandage
  • Scissors
  • Hydrocortisone Ointment
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Nonlatex Gloves
  • Instant Cold Compress
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Adhesive Cloth Tape
  • Adhesive Bandages  – assorted sizes
  • Absorbent Compression Dressing

For at-home first-aid of cuts and burns, see our “Recipe for a Safe Thanksgiving” blog post.

Tip #3: Know the Difference between Heartburn or Heart Attack

Researchers have been intrigued by a perplexing problem over the holiday season – a spike in death rates from heart attacks. Reasons as to why this phenomenon exists may include:
  • Physical exertion in cold weather. Cold whether is hard on the heart. Blood vessels constrict which increases blood pressure. Shoveling heavy snow can burden the heart further. Yet, an increase in holiday heart attacks is also seen in warmer climates.
  • Emotional stress, overeating, and consuming higher amount of alcohol typically occur over the holidays and can stress the heart.
  • There’s a delay in seeking care. For some, the disruption of a holiday celebration is worse then seeking medical attention. Symptoms of heartburn and heart attack such as pain and burning in the center of the chest are symptoms of both. Even if symptoms subside after a while, it is important to call your doctor or seek medical care if there’s an unexplained episode of chest pain, even if it went away after a while. A developing heart attack may not cause constant pain.

Typical heart attack signs and symptoms include:

  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

The most common symptom of heart attack for both men and women is chest pain or discomfort. But women are more likely than men to experience some of the other symptoms, such as jaw or back pain, shortness of breath, and nausea or vomiting. (Source: Mayo Clinic)

Tip #4: Designate a Driver

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that the holidays in December are especially dangerous for motorists. NHTSA found that 41 percent of the fatalities occurred on New Year’s and 38 percent on Christmas, and more than 40 percent of these fatalities involved alcohol.

In the state of Michigan, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is considered legally drunk. BAC is affected by gender, body weight, the number of drinks consumed over a specific period of time, and other factors. One drink is equivalent to 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor (40% alcohol), 12 ounces of beer (4.5% alcohol), or 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol).

For a 160 pound male, three to four alcoholic drinks in one hour will result in being legally intoxicated. For a 140-pound female, two to three alcoholic drinks in one hour will result in legal intoxication.

For the safety of all on the road, be sure to always designate a sober driver, or use ride services such as cabs or Uber.

From the Michigan Urgent Care and Occupational Health family to yours, we wish you a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

Michigan Urgent Care and Occupational Health’s nine clinics throughout Southeast Michigan are open every day of the year. Our Brighton, Canton, Dundee, Ferndale, Waterford, and Wyandotte clinic are open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. every day including holidays. Our Grosse Pointe Woods, Livonia, and Ann Arbor (Washtenaw) clinics are open 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. every day including holidays.

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