A healthy holiday is a happy holiday

Learn a lesson or two from some of the most common reasons people seek urgent or emergent care each holiday season. 

Prevent falls
If you’re putting up Christmas lights, make sure the ladder is firmly standing on dry ground. People with certain medical conditions, such as those who take blood thinners, should never be on a ladder or the roof as falling can cause internal bleeding. And if you’re on foot, stay off treacherous ice.

Get a flu shot
Flu shots don’t guarantee you won’t be spending the holidays in bed with aches and a fever, but they improve your odds. People who get flu shots don’t get as sick if they do get the flu.

Don’t get burned
Things that bubble when you’re cooking cause the worst burns, because grease increases the penetration of the wounds. Try silicone cooking mitts for better protection.

Dress for the weather
Anyone spending time outdoors in bitter cold needs a warm hat, gloves and boots. Frost bite begins on ears and toes and cold air can trigger asthma.

Drive safely
Both holiday travel and increased shopping traffic up the risk of motor vehicle accidents. Slow down, wear a seat belt — a helmet if you’re on a motorcycle — and don’t drive unless you’re completely sober.

Don’t overindulge
Thanksgiving and Christmas will tell you how well your gallbladder is doing. If you’re having abdominal pain, you might well be overindulging in fatty, greasy or spicy foods. Overdoing alcohol and drugs is the culprit behind many holiday injuries. Don’t put up holiday lights, cook, drive or do anything remotely dangerous if you’re not sober.

Get help for emotional challenges
Holidays can be hard on people, especially if you’ve had a loss. Not only does depression tend to worsen, but the risk of domestic violence and suicide also rise. Communicate with your loved ones, and stay on top of any medication your doctor has prescribed for you. The holidays are a time of joy and happiness, but they can also be a time of sadness. People need to know that urgent care clinics and emergency rooms are places they can go to get help.

Know where to go
If you do get sick or hurt, call your primary care provider or head to urgent care for minor problems, but go to the emergency room or call 911 for serious or life-threatening problems.