GREENWICH, Conn. -- The holidays are all about friends, family and good times. However, the season of giving can also become a season of danger if one isn't careful. From slips and falls to overindulgence, celebrating smart is key to ensuring a happy and healthy holiday.
"Having been the orthopedic specialist on call at Greenwich Hospital for more holiday seasons than I can remember, I know firsthand how a few simple precautions can keep your holidays full of good cheer," said Dr. Steven Hindman, an orthopedic surgeon at Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists.
One very common seasonal cause of trauma is the result of carelessness when decorating around the house. "When preparing for the holidays, take particular care about what you are climbing on to decorate," said Hindman. "I have seen horrible injuries from people climbing on unsafe things at this time of the year." Opt for tall ladders with handles, rather than pulling up a chair or standing on an old stepladder.
It's also important to ensure houseguests are aware of any trouble that may be lurking below the knees. "Guests may be unaccustomed to having pets or children and their toys underfoot," said Hindman. "They can easily trip over the dog and break a wrist, or twist an ankle stepping on a toy." This is especially true with older family members who are often less responsive to sudden changes. That's why Hindman suggests hosts ensure walkways and rooms are well-lit and clear of potential hazards.
Older family members aren't the only ones at risk for accidents during the holidays though. "Young people home from college can become impetuous with the excitement of reuniting with old hometown friends," said Hindman. "Playing contact sports without the proper equipment, late night partying and careless driving are common reasons young people end up in the ER."
Distractions and alcoholic beverages can also pose physical perils. "In the kitchen, divided attention can lead to hand injuries, burns and severe lacerations," said Hindman. "We typically see an increase in the number of cut tendons and nerves in the hand from accidents involving knives and slicers."
No matter the seasonal tradition, it's important to exercise caution and common sense. "The holidays are a time to be thankful for friends and family," said Hindman. "Taking the proper precautions to make sure everyone stays safe during this time of year can be the greatest gift of all."
ONS has offices in Greenwich and Stamford, Conn. and Harrison, N.Y.
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