These Are the Most Common Injuries That Happen Over the Holidays
The winter months bring holiday joy … and possibly also holiday-related pain. Applying decorations, traveling over land, celebrating with family and friends, preparing elaborate meals, romping (or taming) in the snow – all of these traditions can do harm to your body if you're not careful. The good news is that most winter accidents are so common that they can easily be avoided with a few precautions. The Remedy has asked doctors across the country to reveal the holiday injuries they see most often, and how you can ensure this season is memorable for the right reasons.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 15,000 injuries – or 240 a day in November and December – are attributable to holiday decoration. The body part that bears the brunt of all the gripping, twisting and pulling: your back. "All the extra lifting and decorating can be painful if people are not careful," says Richard Barnes, director of the clinic RET Physiotherapy Group in Redmond, Washington. "Our PT clinics fill up with people seeking relief from holiday back pain every year at this time, but there are also things people can do in advance to avoid frequent vacation injuries."
The remedy Rx: Barnes recommends preparing for the season with core work (eg, forearm boards, glute bridges and table presses). This strengthens your core and increases the weight that your back can comfortably carry. Finally, stretch your back (lie on your back and bring your knees to your stomach for 30 seconds) and your legs (bend and try to touch the ground, keeping your head close for 15 seconds) hold as possible to your body).
Whether carrying crates, tote bags, Christmas trees or suitcases – the winter months offer endless opportunities for lifting injuries – they are so common that Barnes and his colleagues have called the phenomenon "Santa Strain".
The remedy Rx: Lift objects shoulder width apart with one foot slightly in front of the other. Squat and lift with your legs – not your back. Keep the charge close to your body. "Twenty pounds held at arm's length exert as much force as 50 pounds held close to your body," says Barnes. When you drop the load, squat; Do not bend your back. Christmas trees should always be carried by at least two people.
Snow shoveling can cause a range of injuries, from back pain to heart attacks. The latter is a serious phenomenon: loud Harvard Medical SchoolSqueezing a shovel or a heavy snow blower is a known trigger for a heart attack. Cold weather can increase blood pressure, disrupt blood flow to the heart, and promote blood clotting. As a result, more than 100 fatal heart attacks occur each year.
The remedy Rx: Avoid shoveling snow if you have or are at high risk of heart disease. A 2017 study from the US Nationwide Children's Hospital goes further, stating that snow shoveling is too dangerous for people over 55 to try. This year, you may want to offer some cocoa and some pocket money to a relative who is a teenager or a neighbor to keep your driveway clear.
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In the winter months, ladders step out to increase the danger of falling – from Christmas lights, to decorating interiors, to fitting the Christmas tree.
The remedy Rx: Make sure the ladders are on a stable, level surface that is not littered with debris. When decorating low and medium heights, choose a stepladder or a general purpose ladder. Avoid the top two rungs when using an extension ladder for outdoor decoration. "And remember the 1: 4 rule," says Barnes. "The floor of the ladder should be one foot away from the wall when the ladder rises half a meter."
"Foot pain is very common at this time of the year," says Bruce Pinker, DPM, AACFAS, FAPWCA, and DABPM, a board-certified podiatrist Progressive foot care in New York. "Women suffer significantly from high heels or toe-toe shoes for events and parties during the holidays, often resulting in footpad pain due to metatarsalgia or bursitis, and ankle sprains may occur due to instability."
The remedy Rx: "The best way to avoid foot complaints and injuries is to wear more sensible shoes – heels no taller than 2.5 cm," says Pinker. "Avoid shoes with narrow toes and use a lining or padded insert in the shoes to increase comfort." If you suffer an injury, massaging and icing can help. Wrap a sprain with an ACE bandage. If the pain persists, a podiatrist can offer help through physiotherapy, custom orthoses or cortisone injections.
"A common complaint during the holiday season is depression over a loved one who may have passed away," says Amber Robins, MD, a state-certified family doctor Your doctors online, "When family and friends come together, there can also be losses – winter time can also be a period of isolation, as many people stay home because it's colder outside, which can also lead to depression."
The remedy Rx: Find out from friends and relatives how they are doing. And watch out for the signs of depression in them – and on themselves. A chronic low mood, hopelessness, or lack of interest in previous activities can make it time to see a doctor for relief.
"It's important to be aware of the safety, especially for children, during the holidays," says dr. Cherilyn Cecchini, a registered pediatrician Your doctors online, "Although holiday losses, such as open flame or hot food burns, are common, it is important to keep in mind that there are common, everyday injuries during the holiday season."
The remedy Rx: "If you visit another house with children, check and protect dangerous areas such as power sockets or stairs," says Cecchini. "Make sure the medication is kept in a safe place out of the reach of children, and request immediate cleaning, especially if adults drink alcohol or smoke tobacco products to prevent children from getting into these substances."
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"Crossing time zones, late hours and poor driving conditions results in an increased risk of accidents involving motor vehicles or accidents when using machines, knives or ax," says ambulance specialist Paul Weinberg, MD.
The remedy Rx: Treat yourself to a lot of sleep during this holiday season. When traveling, take time to rest before and after reaching your destination. When you feel tired, do not do risky or physical activities until you feel completely awake.
"For some families, football is as much a tradition as canned turkey and cranberry sauce (my personal favorite)," says Michael Richardson, MD of One Medical In Boston. "In sports, sports injuries happen, so be sure to stretch and play responsibly A common injury I see are sprained ankles."
The remedy Rx: "When you roll your ankle, it's best to stop playing, wrap your ankle in an ACE bandage, freeze it, lift it up and take some ibuprofen for pain," says Richardson. "You can probably wait a bit to see a doctor, but if you're unable to hold the weight on your ankle, or if you're feeling tender on the bone, you may have broken your ankle and should be so fast see a doctor if possible. "
"After a marathon of delicious dishes and desserts, the most common complaint I hear is indigestion," says Richardson. "This can be a burning or pressure sensation in your stomach or chest, sometimes accompanied by nausea."
The remedy Rx: "Try some tea or soda with ginger to calm your stomach," advises Richardson. "If you need a medicine, take famotidine (Pepcid) because it works fast and should clear your stomach acid relatively quickly, and Omeprazole (or Prilosec) takes a few days to work." Do not ignore chest pains that worsen or are accompanied by respiratory distress, jaw pain, arm pain or a general feeling of fatigue. This could mean a heart attack and require immediate medical treatment.
"Holidays can be a great time to relax, but for some, having a family reunion can bring new stress and worsen your mood," says Robertson. "It's good to have a game plan before coming home to your family members in the event of a stress-inducing event."
The remedy Rx: "If you've ever reached a point where you need a break from your family, go for a walk or take care," says Robertson. "A little bit of air could be everything you need to get back into the holiday mood."
"Some of the holiday's favorite traditional treats – such as nuts, candies, caramel and toffee, as well as crispy bread like biscotti and bruschetta – can cause teeth, fillings, crowns, and even dentures to break and break," says Mike Golpa, DDS a dentist With G4 from Golpa in Las Vegas. "The crunching of the harder treats is pretty obvious, but many do not consider the softer, stickier treats as a potential risk, and the danger comes when you remove the sticky goods that have settled on and between your teeth cause damage to teeth and dentures. "
The remedy Rx: "The best way to survive the holidays without an emergency visit to the dental office is to avoid these foods, or at least to eat while chewing on both sides of the mouth rather than being in the same place," says Golpa ,
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"Kitchen accidents are all too common," says Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, a certified dermatologist in Los Angeles SkinSafe Dermatology and Skin Care, "Cooking for family and friends is fun, but time constraints, large amounts, limited kitchen space, and the use of equipment that you do not normally use can increase your risk of accidentally slicing, chopping, scratching, and slicing / or burn your fingers. "
The remedy Rx: Shainhouse recommends holding the ingredients in a "claw" shape by hand when chopping. "This protects your fingertips and the smooth surface of your back fingers can serve as a guide for the knife," she says. Hold anything you cut with a mandolin with a fork or jagged tool and wear a glove when using a grater.
Bundling is a serious affair – skin exposed to cold and snow can develop injuries from its surface to deeper structures such as fat, muscle and nerves. "Most are exposed areas such as nose, lips, ears, cheeks and chin, but also around fingers and toes," says Shainhouse. "The damage can last for minutes to hours in the cold, and the pain can last for months, and if the tissue is too damaged, amputation may be required."
The remedy Rx: "Cover your exposed skin as much as possible when going outdoors in freezing weather and wear layers," says Shainhouse. "Stay dry and take off wet clothes as soon as possible." Avoid nicotine and alcohol when you go out in the cold. Nicotine narrows the blood vessels while alcohol dilates them. Both can make frostbite worse.
"Many of my patients think that dehydration can only occur in summer, but in winter this is not uncommon when working outdoors to rake, shovel or decorate leaves," Dr. Tim Mynes, area physician of MedExpress emergency care, "We tend to curl up before we go outside, where it's cold, but we forget to take off our clothes when we warm up and get moving."
The remedy Rx: "I always recommend wearing lightweight layers that can be removed to prevent overheating," says Mynes. "And even if you do not feel thirsty this winter, always bring a water bottle, so you do not drink too much."
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"While candles and lights are an integral part of holiday decorations, it's important that safety comes first, as improper use can not only cause burns and electric shock, but also fire hazards," says Mynes.
The remedy Rx: "First, make sure you use interior and exterior lighting for outdoor lighting when you line up the lights outside or around your home, it seems obvious, but it's a simple mix up," says Mynes. "Before you connect fairy lights, you should thoroughly inspect all cables and wires that have been stored since last winter, and sometimes they can be damaged causing a potential fire hazard." Remove candles before leaving a room.
"During the holidays, people often eat more than they are used to, as well as unaccustomed foods, especially foods with higher fat and salt content," says Galit Sacajiu, MD, MPH, of Elitra health in New York City. "This can be especially dangerous for people with diabetes, hypertension or heart failure."
The cure: "One way to mitigate the effects of overeating is to take a walk before or after eating," says Sacajiu. "Individuals should also increase their fluid intake to offset the effects of high-salt foods." When you're enjoying your holiday meals, look for the first signs of symptoms and contact your doctor immediately, who may need to adjust your medication at short notice. "
"Snowblower injuries are common during the holiday season, which can be as simple as cutting to the point of finger amputations," says Dr. Kate Eisenberg, family doctor and epidemiologist in Rochester, New York.
The remedy Rx: "The most important thing about prevention is that you do not put your hands near the blade and always use a stick or other tool to get rid of clogged snow," says Eisenberg. "It's also important not to drink alcohol while using your snowblower!"
In the winter months, alcohol flows more freely and the injuries accumulate. "During the holidays, people come to my office because they are too drunk at holiday parties and have fallen over – yes, that's a real thing!" says Dr. Kellen Scantlebury, DPT, CSCS, of Fit Club NY in New York City. "We treated patients with broken wrists and broken ankles because they dropped down after the Christmas party and kicked off the curb while they were drunk."
The remedy Rx: Know when to say, especially when you're on snow and ice.
"Many people have family traditions for skiing or snowboarding during their holidays," says Scantlebury. "Especially when skiing, we often treat patients who have torn the cruciate ligament, which usually happens during falls, and we see that in our more experienced skiers."
The remedy Rx: For ACL tears, surgery is usually required to ensure a full recovery, followed by physiotherapy. Scantlebury recommends some exercises to strengthen your hips to reduce the risk of ACL injury. These include lateral ligaments, bridges with a band around the knees and lateral ski jumps. If you are a beginner, wear the proper equipment and attend class before entering the slopes.
"The most common & # 39; injury I see on vacation is really just people who get sick because of the so-called let-down effect," he says Anita Wang, MD, an emergency physician and integrative physician in Laguna Beach, California. "This happens when the body causes an immune response – such as when we get sick or headaches or flares appear – just after a stressful event has subsided, maybe you've ended Thanksgiving and stayed up all night to pack presents." Or you've just completed a shopping spree for last-minute gift shopping. Our body often keeps well under stress until we finally relax and stop recovering. The let-down effect is the equivalent of 100 miles per hour to a dead stop in a car. It's not good for your car, and it's not good for your body. "
The remedy Rx: "We usually crash on the couch and do something just days after our big holiday event expires, and this is often the case when problems occur, be it from illness, inflammation, or sensitivity reactions," Wang says. "By gradually reducing stress, we help our bodies to rebalance." This year, instead of switching from the holiday chaos to the instant sofa potato, "Make sure you spend 30 minutes of strenuous physical or mental activity – even a brisk walk – in the following days, to bring your body back to a comfortable pace of life offset." she advises. And to live your happiest and healthiest life, you should not miss those 70 things that you should never do for your health.