The holiday season is officially upon us. School’s out, the children are home and last minute gift requests have us rushing around town. Whether you are staying home for the holidays, traveling to grandma’s house or still searching for that special gift from Santa, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) urges everyone to pay special attention to your health and safety this holiday season.
The holidays are an exciting time of the year for everyone. Don’t allow an accident or a trip to the emergency room derail your holiday plans. Adhere to the following health and safety tips to ensure your family has a safe and happy holiday season.
- Wash your Hands. According to the CDC, keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Read the labels on Toys. Whether you are buying a toy for a younger or older child, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends selecting toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children. Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he or she has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles. While everyone is rushing to get to their destination, take a moment to make sure you have a plan. Prepare for travel delays with plenty snacks, water and activities for children. Be sure to keep valuable items and medicine in your carry-on bag in the event your luggage doesn’t make it to your final destination. Stop by your local mechanic to have your tires and engine checked if embarking over the hills and through the woods to your holiday destination. Store a first-aid kit and a roadside safety kit in your trunk, being sure to check the batteries in the flashlight to confirm they still have juice. Also, be sure to check weather at your destination before you hit the road.
- Stay Warm. Nothing tops off a perfect holiday like a Texas cold front. Make sure your family is prepared to stay dry and warm during Texas’ wet and rainy season with layered clothing, water boots, jackets and scarves. And don’t forget the umbrella!
- Don’t Spoil a Meal. Whether you are cooking at home or bringing items to a gathering, be sure your family is safe from food-related illnesses. Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables, and follow recipes to ensure meat and poultry dishes have been properly cooked. Prevent cross-contamination by using a new utensil when handling raw food and cooked food.
- Trees, Decorations and Fireplaces. While most friends and families gather in the living room, make sure the tree is not blocking a hallway where guests, children and pets can easily knock over. The APP recommends turning off the holidays lights when going to bed or leaving the house as the lights could short out and start a fire. Watch children and pets as they could swallow small ornaments or decorations. And never leave a fireplace unattended.
Following these simple tips can help make sure your family stays safe this holiday season. Should you need to seek medical attention, dial 911 or visit the emergency room at CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital. For more information on CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital’s services, visit christusstcatherine.org.
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