A Cleaner World Blog
Common Holiday Mishaps to Avoid
Typically, when you think of Christmas, you think of gift-giving, yummy food, merriment, and time with family, but did you know that Christmas can also be a dangerous time of year? If you think about it, on top of your normal life activities of work, kids, housework, volunteer responsibilities, and so on, you’re also doing things and spending time around more people than you normally do. Being stretched so thin can leave you open to accidents and illnesses that you otherwise might have avoided.
Below is a list, in no particular order, of things to be mindful of this holiday season.
- Illness. Up to 20% of the population gets the flu which starts in the fall and runs through February. Doing things like avoiding those that are ill and washing your hands frequently will help, but also thoroughly clean your home to avoid spreading the flu.
- Hypothermia. We typically don’t think of 40 degrees Fahrenheit as super cold, but did you know that hypothermia can occur at 40 degrees? Dressing in layers, wearing warm socks, and staying dry are all things you can do to help stay warm.
- Fireplace fires. December and January are peak months for home fires, and the second leading cause in home fires comes from heating sources like woodstoves and fireplaces. Always have your chimney checked and swept before having your first fire of the season. When you start a fire, make sure the damper is open, always use a grate or a screen in front of the fireplace, and, should a fire become out of control, use an extinguisher or sand to put it out, not water.
- Candle fires. During the month of December, candle fires make up 13% of home fires. Please follow these tips when burning a candle: never leave it burning unattended, place burning candles on non-flammable sturdy surfaces, use containers that are large enough to hold the melted wax, make sure the container is heat resistant, never burn candles around children, never burn a candle in a drafty area, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on appropriate burn times.
- Space heater fires. Roughly 1,000 injuries occur each year because of space heater fires. To avoid space heater fires, place it away from water and flammable surfaces, plug it directly into a wall outlet, turn it off and unplug it when it’s not in use, inspect and properly maintain your heater, and look for a heater with tip-over protection.
- Christmas tree fires. Christmas tree fires occur because of faulty lights, overloading outlets or extension cords, placing trees too close to heat sources, and candle decorations.
- Burns. Believe it or not, over 100,000 people are treated for scalding injuries each year during the holiday season, and did you know that most turkeys are fried at 350 degrees Fahrenheit which can cause 3rd degree burns? Do these things while cooking: wear short sleeves; turn pan handles to the inside of the stove; always use oven mitts or potholders when picking up dishes; when deep frying, don’t overfill the pot or pan; keep water and steam away from hot oil; and allow hot oil to cool before removal. Most importantly, if you do get scalded or burned, seek medical attention immediately.
- Poisoning. Not only is food poisoning something to be concerned about but also poisoning by plants. Things like mistletoe, holly berries, and poinsettias should be kept out of reach of both children and pets. If someone (including the family pet) consumes one of these plants, call poison control. For information on food safety, go to this link from the USDA.