Christmas is here and it’s the most wonderful time of the year. It is also the busiest season, also referred to as the “silly season,” because, interestingly, while it is a very festive and jolly time, Christmas is also when many incidents and injuries occur. And many people bring in the new year with pain and disability, while some are unavoidable, majority could be prevented and save yourself additional spending on recovery or less time out of work (especially for self-employed) in the new year.
Christmas aches and pains
Firstly, during the year there is a fairly average time persons will take to clean their houses, however in the days or weeks leading up to Christmas there tends to be a lot of cleaning in and around the house, painting, shifting around furniture, changing curtains, repacking shelves (a lot of overhead activities, lifting, pushing, pulling etc.). This sudden and drastic increase in workload cause some persons to develop aches and pains in various joints and muscles and sometimes old injuries are
aggravated. Preventing this is simple. Firstly Christmas is a time for family, so it is important to share the workload and incorporate the family in all these activities, always ask for help when you perceive something is hard to do or heavy to move.
Many persons tend to aggravate back and knee pain during December. Always pace yourself, doing one activity continuously for hours can increase your risk of injury.
Rest is very important, some days take it easy and allow your body to recover from the workload, especially if you are working in the days and Christmas cleaning in the nights.
Bring out the rum?
Alcohol consumption is normally increased during Christmas season, as a result there tends to be more fights, alcohol poisoning and especially motor vehicle accidents as a result of drinking and driving.
More vehicles will be on the road because it is such a busy season and a lot of persons visiting families and friends, shopping, partying, etc. and so the likelihood for accidents will increase especially when drunk drivers are on the road.
Motor vehicle accidents result in injuries that can range from simple scratches and bruises to muscle spasms to broken bones to damaged spines, brain injury and worst case scenario death.
Motor vehicle accidents are a major cause of disability for some people, leading to large medical expenses for recovery and rehabilitation. The advice is to be wise in your drinking, know your limits, have a designated driver, remember you can have fun without getting drunk and lastly be kind and courteous to others on the road.
Falls and injuries
Cleaning and decorating throughout the Christmas season, means there would be more objects in our way as we walk around our home, there might be wet floors from cleaning and power washing, paint and containers all over. These presents hazards for slipping and falling and sustaining injuries, while this might not be a problem for most, we have to remember the elderlies, those with neurological conditions or visually impaired amongst us whose ability to walk and maneuver around objects might be impaired. They are at increased risk of falling, slipping and tripping over objects. Injuries can be minor from falls, but some might result in head injuries or fractures, especially that of the hip, which are major causes of disability in older people.
Here are some tips for the family:
• Invest in a proper step later, stools and chairs may not be safe.
• Do not leave decorations or electrical cords carelessly along the ground
• Encourage children to put away their new toys properly
• Keep walkways clear
• Keep on lights in the hallway, so that guests in the night could navigate their way to the bathroom.
Electrical and fire safety tips
In Trinidad and Tobago, we love bright lights and decorations, and the difference they bring to the home atmosphere, however we have to be safe in all we do to prevent injuries (burns), loss of life and properties as a result of electrical fires.
• Ensure your Christmas lights are not damaged before use.
• Turn off lights when not at home.
• Ensure lights used outside were designed for outside use.
• Do not overload circuits.
• Supervise children as they play and ensure they do not interfere with lights.
• Keep younger children out of the kitchen, to avoid injury from sharp and pointed objects such as knives.
• There is a lot of cooking and baking that will be taking place, it is important to take precautions to avoid burns.
• Ensure your gas cylinders are properly fitted when you are switching between tanks to finish your food preparation.
There are many more safety tips, all cannot be listed. However, Christmas is a happy time, so enjoy, have fun and, most importantly, be safe.
Have a Merry Christmas
and Happy Healthy New Year!