4 Holiday Health Hazards

Check out these top holiday health risks and what you can do to avoid them.

Deep Fried Turkeys

We have to admit, this sounds like it would be delicious – but aside from the obvious caloric risks involved, the more serious issue is what happens when you try to cook one (just watch this video). Every year approximately 1,000 deep-fryer fires occur, causing on average 5 deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property loss according to the National Fire Protection Association. Still, if you must deep-fry your bird, be sure to thoroughly read your fryer’s instructions and follow them carefully as most accidents occur to ill-informed users.

Poisonous Plants

Your first thought was probably poinsettia. This vibrant red plant gets a bad rep for being poisonous, when in reality the worst it can do is irritate your skin. Hold the holly though – its bright red berries are quite poisonous and ingesting as few as twenty can mean death to a child. And while mistletoe can be lots of fun, be sure to hang it in a high spot since the berries, leaves, and stem are all considered toxic.

Decorating Dangers

The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without all the festive trimmings. Just be sure to deck-the-halls with caution, as more than 5,000 people are injured in decorating-related falls each year. Avoid becoming a statistic by adhering to the following rules when stringing lights this year.
  • Check that your ladder is on secure, level ground
  • If using an extension ladder, space it one foot away from the wall for every four feet in height it reaches.
  • If using a stepladder, make sure it is “locked” open
  • Keep your body centered between rails and do not overreach
  • Never step onto the top two rungs. For rood access, extend the ladder an extra 3 feet above the roof.

Slippery Slopes

Sledding down a snow-covered hill can be exhilarating, and it’s the stuff that winter memories are made of. But what seems like good, clean fun actually causes 33,000 injuries each year. Practice safe sledding (skiing, snow tubing, or snowboarding) by wearing a helmet. Stay clear of rocky hills and slopes dotted with trees, fences, utility boxes or other obstacles. Sit up instead of lying flat on your back, and never sled headfirst. If you sled does begin to fly out of control, roll off – a quick tumble into the snow is not nearly as dangerous as plowing into an obstacle at top speed.