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4 tips for a healthy and safe holiday season

By The Health News Team | December 3, 2020
Person cutting holiday wreath

The holiday season is in full swing but with the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrations may look a little different this year. Here are four ways you and your family can stay safe and healthy.

  1. Be careful when decorating
    While holiday parties and other events may not happen this year, decorating is still a great way to celebrate with family. However, it is important to stay safe while doing so.

    “Ensuring the safety of all family members while decorating is of utmost importance,” says Dr. Gregory Apel, medical director of the Sharp Coronado Hospital emergency department. He recommends the following safety tips while creating your festive holiday home:

    • Have someone else help you decorate as a safety precaution, especially if you will be climbing a ladder. Someone should support the ladder to ensure that things don’t go awry. Never climb a ladder while home alone.

    • When decorating outside, keep ladders and decorations away from overhead power lines. Ensure the ladder is securely placed on the ground before climbing.

    • Indoor lights should not touch drapes, furniture or carpeting. Keep lit candles away from any flammable items.

    • Prevent tripping by placing electrical cords and decorations in low-traffic areas where they won’t be walked on. Avoid twisting, kinking or crushing cords.

  2. Practice kitchen safety
    This season is also a great time to bake and try new recipes. But before you get cooking, remember these tips:

    • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergency.

    • Always test your smoke detectors to make sure they are functioning properly.

    • Wear appropriate clothing while cooking to avoid splash burns and other injuries.

    • Try not to be distracted when cooking or cutting with sharp knives; many injuries seen in the emergency room during the holidays are due to punctures, cuts and burns.

  3. Take care of your mental health
    The holidays are always a stressful time for many, and COVID-19 adds an extra level of anxiety. It is more important than ever to take care of your mental health. “We live in strange times,” says Dr. Fadi Nicolas, chief medical officer of Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital and Sharp McDonald Center. “There is an overall increase in anxiety, worry and isolation.”

    Dr. Nicolas recommends these strategies to help you cope:

    • Acknowledge your feelings.

    • Stay active and exercise regularly.

    • Practice good sleep hygiene.

    • Try mindfulness meditation and breathing techniques.

    • “Give and receive support from your friends and family to avoid fear of being alone, depression and anxiety,” adds Dr. Nicolas. “Schedule virtual activities to keep in touch with loved ones to avoid feelings of isolation.”

  4. Continue to follow COVID-19 safety precautions
    In addition to potential decorating mishaps and cooking accidents, there is an extra safety challenge this year: the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important not to let down your guard during the holidays.

    “Holiday get-togethers should only be with family members of your own household, not visiting family or friends,” says Dr. Apel. “Avoid large gatherings, and stay home and isolated if you feel sick.”

    Also, keep practicing these important safety measures:

    • Wear face coverings over your nose and mouth when in public.

    • Bring hand sanitizer with you when out and about shopping.

    • Wash hands immediately when you return home.

    • Embrace social distancing and elbow touches instead of hugs and handshakes.

    • Get your flu shot if you have not done so already.

While a trip to the emergency room is not on anyone’s wish list, if you do find yourself needing to visit the ER, rest assured that it’s safe to seek care. Sharp hospitals also offer the ability to save a spot for emergencies that are not life- or limb-threatening.

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