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Monday, December 03, 2012 - Deck the Halls with Caution

A young patient a Fort Loudoun Medical Center gets a little TLC from a hospital reindeer.  Emergency Room physician, Erik Geibig, MD, says it's common to see children in the ER during the holidays.This time of year calls for holiday celebrations. Among all of the hustle and bustle of the season, people often overlook basic safety measures and end up in the emergency room. Erik Geibig, MD, an emergency room physician at Fort Loudoun Medical Center, said he sees an increase in holiday related injuries this time of year and the most common are from falls, accidents involving children, and chest pain. Dr. Geibig offers precautions to ensure safe and happy holidays:
  • Falls — Wear appropriate footwear. Geibig said people tend to fall while walking to church services because they wear shoes that slip too easily in wintry conditions. Falls often happen at night because people can’t see curbs and uneven surfaces. In the home, it’s helpful to pick up rugs and cords. When hanging holiday decorations, use extra caution, especially on ladders and around railings.
  • Children — Make sure outlets are covered and medicines are out of reach, especially when visiting relatives. Check the suggested age range on a toy’s package to be sure that it’s not a choking hazard for children under age three. Make sure kids wear helmets and appropriate gear while sledding and playing outdoors. Those types of activities are exciting this time of year, but talk to your children about the appropriate safety equipment and always have an adult nearby just in case.

  • General Home SafetyGeneral home safety — Be careful when cooking and using knives. It’s better not to let small children help with this part of the holiday festivities. Prevent food poisoning by using separate utensils for raw and cooked meat and be sure to cook meat to the appropriate temperature. To prevent burns, don’t wear loose-fitting clothes while cooking. Candles are another potential risk. If left unattended, these could produce a house fire or other threatening injuries.

  • Chest pain — Eat and drink sensibly. People tend to go over and above this time of year with high-caloric meals and desserts, regardless of health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. People with heart failure need to be especially cautious of their sodium intake. Keep in mind that medications may not be compatible with alcohol or certain foods. If you are experiencing unusual and intense pain, do not wait to seek help; call 911. For women, the symptoms could be pain in the shoulder or arm, weakness, nausea, sweating or vomiting.
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