Tips for an Injury-Free Christmas

The silly season is well and truly upon us again and with it comes stress, shopping, parties and gifts.  Hopefully you are also able to enjoy some relaxation, quality time with loved ones and good health.  However, over the years we have definitely seen a growing trend of Christmas injuries as well.  We have seen everything from drunken falls, dad unsuccessfully testing the kids’ new bikes or skateboards, and back and neck pain from long car trips.  The following is an excerpt from a release from the NHS in the UK to higlight some of the risks during the xmas period and how to stay healthy and out of the emergency department:


“A cocktail of excitement, stress, tiredness and alcohol can create unexpected hazards in the home at Christmas.  More than 80,000 people a year need hospital treatment for injuries such as falls, cuts and burns during the festive period. During Christmas, your home is likely to be full of people and, in the excitement, accidents can easily happen. “We want to help people prevent their festivities being cut short by a trip to A&E,” says Sheila Merrill, home safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). “Our message is that the home should be as safe as necessary, rather than as safe as possible. With a little more care and forward planning, most accidents could be avoided.”

Kitchen Hot fat, boiling water and sharp knives make the kitchen one of the most dangerous places during the holiday. “The Christmas meal is probably the biggest meal most families cook all year. It needs careful planning to avoid injuries,” says Merrill. Try to keep other people (especially children) out of the kitchen. Avoid alcohol until you’ve finished cooking, and wipe up spills as soon as they happen, so that people don’t slip.

Stairs Clutter, alcohol and tiredness make the stairs an accident hotspot during Christmas, says Merrill. It’s common to fall down steps or stairs after drinking. “Keep the stairs well lit and free from obstacles, especially if you have guests who could be going up to the bathroom during the night,” she says.

Presents Typical Christmas Day accidents include parents accidentally stabbing themselves with scissors, which they’ve used to assemble toys, instead of using a screwdriver. People often cut themselves with knives when they’re opening presents too quickly. People also trip over toys and electric cables while rushing to try their new computers and other appliances. “Don’t rush,” says Merrill. “Take time to enjoy the moment. Have a screwdriver ready for toys that are screwed into packaging. Clear up the packaging and wrapping paper as you go along, and remember to recycle.”

Stress Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year. The combination of drink, relatives, lack of sleep and the stress of Christmas shopping can be too much for some people. Try to find some time alone, even if it’s only to have a relaxing bath. Learn to say no to the demands of relatives.

Alcohol Apart from the risks to your own health, alcohol can be the chief mischief maker when it comes to accidents. “It reduces your risk awareness,” says Merrill. “Alcohol can make people relax so much that they don’t think about everyday risks.”

On top of these important points from the NHS, it is also vital to remember that you need to ease into physical activity if you have been quite sedentary in recent months.  We have often seen that once the weather is warm and the holidays come around that people seem to believe they are bulletproof, even though sitting on the couch or office chair for months hasn’t left you in good shape.  It is quite common to see people go on holidays and play tennis, ride a bike, go for a swim and finish off with a surf or a hit of golf all in the one day. However, if the body is unprepared it can be a rude shock to the system and often lead to pain and injury.  Some important points to remember are stretch regularly, wear suitable supportive footwear, gradually progress your activity levels or training to suit your ability and be prepared for some muscle soreness when you first get going.  . Most of all, enjoy the fantastic weather and beautiful surrounds that we are spoilt with on the Coffs Coast.

Merry Christmas!

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