How to Stay Safe Around Holiday Hazards this Season

The holiday season is meant to be full of joy and laughter. However, the fun activities and family gatherings that take place at the end of the year can hide several hazards. Things like cold weather injuries, falls, and kitchen accidents can quickly derail your holiday plans and force you to seek medical help.

This year, the risks are greater than ever since COVID-19 continues to spread in nearly every part of the world.

Being aware of the various health hazards that occur during the holiday season can help keep you and your loved ones safe this year.

Cold Weather Injuries

The fresh-fallen snow outside looks beautiful. However, plummeting winter temperatures can quickly become problematic if you’re exposed to them for too long.

Cold weather injuries are common at this time of year, including things like frostbite and hypothermia. Anyone can be susceptible to these conditions if they are outside in the cold for an extended period of time. This could occur while shoveling the driveway, building a snowman, or walking the dog.

Frostbite and hypothermia are both serious conditions that may require medical treatment and can even be fatal in severe cases. Signs of frostbite include things like reddened skin, a “pins and needles” sensation, numbness, and pain. It typically affects the fingers and toes.

Meanwhile, hypothermia is characterized by shivering, confusion, extreme fatigue, slurred speech, and even memory loss as the body’s core temperature drops.

The best ways to avoid cold weather injuries are fairly obvious. They include dressing appropriately for the weather in warm layers, protecting exposed areas (like the ears and fingers), and not staying outside in the cold for too long.

Slips and Falls

Although snow might be nice to look at, no one likes ice. That’s because it creates several safety hazards. It is easy to accidentally slip and fall on an icy sidewalk or driveway. While most falls won’t result in serious injuries, broken bones and sprained joints can occur.

It’s important to take precautions when dealing with ice around the holidays and throughout the entire winter. For instance, you should wear boots or shoes with plenty of traction, use salt on all walkways, and shovel snow before it becomes icy.

Decorating the house with lights is another common cause of holiday-time injuries. It’s easy to slip off of a ladder or rooftop. Likewise, you can trip on decorations, toys, and rugs.

If you do suffer a fall on the ice or while decorating, be on the lookout for signs of a more serious injury. These include things like not being able to move the affected area, extreme

bruising or swelling, and the site looking deformed or lopsided. If you notice these signs, it may indicate a broken bone that requires prompt medical treatment.

Kitchen Injuries

Few things are more delicious than a massive holiday feast. However, when amateur cooks fill up the kitchen, injuries often follow.

Things like burns from a hot pan or a cut from a knife that’s a little too sharp are common occurrences around the holidays. Most of these injuries aren’t severe enough for medical care.

That being said, serious kitchen injuries can occur. Taking steps to prevent them is key. Be sure to work slowly when using knives, wear hot pads or oven mitts when dealing with hot food, and try to limit the number of people in the kitchen at one time.

COVID-19

Although the risks mentioned to this point are very real, this year’s holiday season comes with an even bigger threat: COVID-19. The pandemic has disrupted life for nearly a year and continues to do so.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to get complacent. Large holiday gatherings with people living outside of your home are the perfect environment for the virus to spread. The last thing anyone wants to do is give a deadly disease to their loved ones.

As a result, holiday celebrations this year need to look a little bit different to keep people safe. Rather than a large event, consider having a nice meal with members of your household. You can use video-calling tools like Zoom or Skype to celebrate virtually with other family members.

Although it may feel strange, taking the necessary steps to be safe this holiday season means that families will get to celebrate together in-person next year.

Velocity Urgent Care Is Here to be Your Holiday Help

Forget the elves. If you need help this holiday season as a result of an injury or illness, Velocity Urgent Care has your back. Our network of clinics across Virginia features convenient hours so that you and your family can get the care you need when you need it.

Whether you’ve fallen on ice, burned yourself in the kitchen, or are feeling under the weather, our friendly providers are ready to take care of you. We can prescribe medications, have x-ray machines on-site, and can even make referrals to a specialist if needed. We also offer COVID-19 testing at all of our locations.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or testing.

Don’t put your health at risk by waiting to seek out treatment!

Velocity Urgent Care offers convenient online registration that helps you limit your contact with others during a visit. You can sign up for an appointment online ahead of time and arrive when it’s time to be seen to skip the waiting room. We even offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.

Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome. To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.