The holidays are meant to be a joyous time spent with friends and family, especially ones you haven’t seen for quite a while. Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas bring with them food, fun, gifts, and gratitude, but they also bring with them an increase in the number of medical emergencies. ER’s fill up around the holidays and doctors and nurses are flooded with cases. Here are the most common medical emergencies you should know about.

Burns and Food Preparation Injuries

With the advent of turkey deep fryers, food preparation injuries happen frequently during the holidays. A turkey fryer can start a fire or literally explode, seriously injuring or killing individuals nearby. Other food prep injuries include cuts on the hands from carving or chopping food and burns on the feet from dropping hot pans of food.

Avoid these types of holiday injuries by using care in the kitchen, having enough help, and roasting your turkey instead of frying it.

Food Poisoning and Allergic Reactions

Food left out on counters for extended periods of time can collect bacteria, causing food poisoning that results in violent vomiting and diarrhea. While some cases of food poisoning can be ridden out at home, uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea that causes dehydration, especially in children, should be treated at an urgent care clinic or emergency room.

Allergic reactions are also common. A person preparing food may not be aware of food allergies in the group or how to cook without cross contamination. Some allergic reactions are minor, while others result in anaphylactic shock — a serious medical emergency.

Avoid these types of holiday emergencies by putting food up as soon as the meal is over and letting people get it back out of the refrigerator if they’d like to eat again. Individuals with special dietary needs and food allergies should make people preparing the food aware of their allergy and if necessary, give pointers on how to prevent cross-contamination.

Falls from Ladders While Decorating

It’s great to have a fully decked out house for the holidays, complete with lights and an animated Santa. However, putting up all the decorations can be dangerous work and emergency rooms frequently see patients with broken bones and internal injuries from falling off ladders or roofs while decorating.

Avoid these types of holiday mishaps by using steady ladders, working with someone, using safety equipment, and having someone spot you when needed. Don’t attempt to install decorations on your own.

Drug and Alcohol Overdose or Accidents

Indulging in a few adult beverages is a tradition for many families during the holidays, but overindulging can spell trouble. Emergency rooms often see cases of alcohol poisoning or overdose when people drink too much or take illegal drugs in their attempt to have a good time. In some cases, it’s even overdose on prescription drugs.

Furthermore, drug and alcohol use can also lead to accidents when an inebriated person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle. Accidents caused by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol rise during the holidays, and it gets even more dangerous when snow and ice are on the road. These accidents can cause serious injuries or even death.

Avoid drug or alcohol overdose by limiting your use or avoiding it altogether. If you see a friend or family member who looks overly inebriated, offer a helping hand and get them to a safe place where there’s no access to drugs or alcohol. Avoid accidents by never driving while under the influence or riding with someone else who is inebriated. Call an Uber or a cab if you feel that you can’t get home safely or better yet, plan to have a designated driver.

Head to the ER If You Need To

Emergencies during the holidays can still happen, despite your best attempts to avoid them. There’s nothing ER doctors and nurses haven’t seen during the holidays, so get the emergency care you need as soon as possible.

Dr. Edward Mallory is a seasoned emergency room physician with over 25 years of experience and multiple degrees under his belt. If you were injured over the holidays due to someone else’s negligence, contact Dr. Mallory today to learn how a medical expert witness can help. Call now at (813) 997-1241.