Staying Safe During the Holidays in 2020 

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Staying Safe During the Holidays in 2020

This year more than ever, people across South Louisiana and the country are looking forward to the joy that the holidays bring—even if we’ll be celebrating on a somewhat smaller scale during this lingering pandemic. While you’re enjoying the season, remember to keep safety top of mind, so you don’t end up letting an accident ruin your holiday spirit. Here are a few common areas where pitfalls can occur.

Electrical Safety

Each holiday season, electrical fires result in millions of dollars in property damages, injury and in some cases death. Paying attention to wiring and following a few rules can help prevent these tragedies.

  • Purchasing lights from reputable retailers and only those approved by nationally recognized testing labs like US, Intertek, or CSA can avoid electrical fires.
  • Inspect both indoor and outdoor lights for broken sockets, frayed wired and loose connections.
  • Overloading outlets with too many electrical devices could cause a fire.
  • Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

A Little Fire Safety Goes a Long Way

Christmas trees, cooking equipment and candles can all lead to home fires and injuries. In fact, the use of candles and fireplaces combined with an increase in the amount of in-home, combustible decorations during the holidays means more risk for fire. The following tips can help minimize accidents.

  • Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over and are out of reach of children. Consider using battery-operated ones.
  • Never leave candles or fireplaces burning unattended or when you are asleep.
  • While mantels are beautiful when covered with stockings and greenery, these items are flammable. If you use your fireplace frequently, consider hanging these decorations somewhere else.
  • Use a screen on the fireplace at all times when a fire is burning.
  • Make sure your live Christmas tree has plenty of water and it isn’t near a heat source. If using an artificial tree, check to make sure that it is labeled “fire resistant.”
  • When cooking, pay close attention to what you’re doing and your surroundings and never leave a stove unattended.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by.
  • Be sure you have smoke detectors at least 10 feet from your stove and test them monthly.

Decorate Safely

Decorating is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating every season. Falls from ladders, fractures or sprains from tripping over extension cords, cuts from broken ornaments and more can all be prevented with some forethought.

  • Never use furniture as a ladder.
  • Follow the 1-to-4 rule for extension ladders: for every four feet the ladder rises, move the base out one foot from the structure.
  • Always keep three points of contact on the ladder: two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
  • Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches where small children can reach them.
  • Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors, and replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
  • Never nail, tack or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from water sources.

Poison Prevention

The risk of poisoning also increases during the holiday period, resulting not only from common household items, but also holiday-related decorations. Here are more tips:

  • Be sure your child doesn’t have access to dangerous plants. Mistletoe, holly berries and Jerusalem cherries can be poisonous if consumed in large amounts.
  • Those small button batteries found in toys and remotes are very dangerous so make sure children don’t swallow them.
  • Tiny magnets are also dangerous if swallowed.

Food Poisoning

As much as our holiday traditions revolve around food, here are some ways to keep your holidays happy by handling food safely.

  • Wash your hands frequently when handling food.
  • Keep raw meat away from fresh produce.
  • Use separate cutting boards, plate and utensils for uncooked and cooked meats to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Refrigerate hot or cold leftover food within two hours of being served.
  • Holiday leftovers are safe for three to four days when properly refrigerated. 

COVID-19—Our Newest Concern for 2020

Along with the traditional holiday safety concerns we’ve already mentioned, this year COVID-19 is at the top of the “Naughty List.” Here are some things to consider prior to holiday get togethers.

  • Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread.
  • Remember, in-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households—including college students returning home—pose varying levels of risk. Organizers and attendees of larger events should consider the risk of virus spread based on event size and take steps to reduce the possibility of infection.
  • Family and friends should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering.
  • If you are traveling, airports, gas stations, convenience stores and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. Take proper precautions.
  • Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation (for example, small enclosed spaces with no outside air), pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.

LCMC Health Urgent Care is Here for You During the Holidays

We hope that you and your family have a safe, happy and healthy holiday. However, if you do experience an accident that needs quick, high-quality care, our team is here to serve you. Whether it’s a burn or sprain, or you come down with a sinus infection or fever, our convenient care centers are here to quickly put you back on the road to recovery. We also offer rapid COVID-19 testing and flu tests. LCMC Health Urgent Care is closely following all CDC guidelines to keep our facilities safe and our doctors and medical professionals are working hard to maintain the highest level of cleanliness and safety. So, if you have an accident or feel under the weather, you can be assured we can provide you with care from a safe environment.

Here in the New Orleans area, LCMC Health Urgent Care is ready to help with six convenient, walk-in clinics to treat you and your family. Our locations: Lakeview (826 Harrison Ave. Ste. A), Gretna (2600 Belle Chase, Hwy. B-2),  Clearview (1105 S Clearview Pkwy.), Algiers (3801 General DeGaulle Dr.) and Marrero (4945 Lapalco Blvd.) are open 7 days a week and no appointment is ever necessary. Our reach also extends to the Covington area with our LCMC Health Urgent Care (formerly Lake Urgent Care Northshore). All clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. LCMC Health Urgent Care is backed by the outstanding resources and reputation of LCMC Health, which manages some of the top hospitals in the New Orleans area including Children’s Hospital, Touro, University Medical Center, New Orleans East Hospital and West Jefferson Hospital.  For more infor­mation about LCMC Health Urgent Care, CLICK HERE. Get answers at any LCMC Health Urgent Care location.

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