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Healthy Holidays: Safety and Injury Prevention Tips

A lot of accidents happen during the holidays because we get distracted or are too excited to act intentionally and carefully. Small children especially can get lost in the hustle and bustle of a family gathering and hurt themselves. Luckily, many of these injuries can be prevented with some planning, preparation and a little extra caution.

Common injuries seen around the holiday season include:

• Burns – Candles, fireplaces and stove tops are the most common culprits. Keep a close eye on children near hot surfaces and don’t leave any flame unattended.
• Cuts – Be careful when using scissors or a sharp object to open gifts and packaging. Have a broom and dust pan handy to sweep up broken glass.
• Choking hazards – Small decorations and toys can be a choking hazard for kids. Keep toys with small parts away from young children.
• Falls – Make sure any cords are tucked away and don’t create a tripping hazard. Try to keep the pathway clear of toys and gift packaging that may cause a fall.
• Food safety – Wash hands before handling food. Refrigerate and store food within 2 hours of serving to prevent foodborne illness. Stored leftovers are generally only good for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

While not as common as other injuries, electric shock can cause serious harm. Be careful handling Christmas light cords and replace any that are damaged. If someone does sustain a minor cut or burn, don’t panic. Clean the area and apply pressure to the cut or ice to the burn until the pain subsides. A cut should stop bleeding after half an hour of pressure.

We all have an idea of what our perfect holiday looks like, but sometimes the unexpected happens and changes our plans. If a minor injury does occur, don’t let it ruin your celebration. Prepare for the unexpected as much as you can, learn to laugh off things that don’t go according to plan and enjoy time you get to spend with loved ones. If you are experiencing a nonlife-threatening illness or injury and do not suspect the need to be admitted to a hospital, visit an urgent care center. If a serious injury does occur, call 911 and visit the nearest emergency department.

Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of emergency departments, urgent care facilities and a trauma care center dedicated to providing immediate treatment for individuals in the community experiencing unexpected illness, injury and other concerning health conditions.

Spokesperson Background:

Kurt Lauenstein, MD, is a family medicine specialist at Cone Health Urgent Care Center at Greensboro and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. He completed medical school at the University of Vermont and his residency at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital.

To find out about safety and healthy lifestyle tools, resources, information and a calendar of upcoming classes, visit

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