Ask Dr. Nandi: Holiday health hazards: How to stay safe this season

Posted at 4:55 PM, Dec 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-23 16:55:32-05

The holidays are upon us but to stay safe and avoid the Emergency Room, you need to be aware of some holiday health hazards.  

There are several holiday health hazards and any of them can lead you to the Emergency Room. Often seen are injuries from falls off slippery ladders or wet roofs as people finish last-minute decorating. 

Another health hazard is parking lots. Too many shoppers are in a hurry or distracted when driving or backing up. People end up getting hit and can suffer with broken bones or punctured lungs.

It’s not uncommon to overindulge on holiday food, especially cookies and desserts. This can bring on indigestion, constipation or just feeling sick because of sugar overload. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, be careful as the extra sugar or salt can throw your system off. It could be days before you’re back in balance again. 

With alcohol, if you drink too much, you can end up with what we call “holiday heart syndrome”. You end up in the ER with atrial fibrillation, shortness of breath, chest pains and feeling like you’re going to pass out. This may self-correct on its own or doctors may have to electrically shock your heart to reset the rhythm.

Be a health hero - put your health and safety first:

Partha’s RX
1. Enjoy holiday foods but be mindful of how much you indulge and be sure to include plenty of healthy options.

2. Plan ahead regarding alcohol and what’s a safe amount for you.

3. When behind the wheel, put down your mobile phone - one in 5 accidents happen in parking lots and the biggest distraction is your phone.

4. Wash your hands frequently - being around people or crowds increases your chance of catching a winter bug like the flu

If you’re planning on driving, be extra careful as there are a lot of alcohol-related car accidents at this time of the year. 

So if you’re drinking, be sure to have a designated driver. If you’re the driver, make sure you’ve had enough sleep. Check that everyone is buckled up and any children are in appropriate car seats or booster seats. Be sure to leave early so you’re not rushing. And lastly, bring snacks, water and warm blankets in case you encounter car troubles.