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Holiday Injuries: Elves aren't the only busy ones during the holidays, emergency rooms are, too

News 19’s Rosemarie Beltz spoke with a local emergency room doctor about how to avoid holiday injuries and what to do when you can’t.

Millions of people hustle and work hard to prepare for the holidays. They carry trees and climb on all kinds of things to hang decorations. Sometimes that holiday spirit backfires. Sometimes that can even lead to injury and maybe even a hospital visit.

Lexington Medical emergency physician, Doctor Brenna M. Brucker says the emergency room can be a busy place over the holidays. “In terms of fire there is the deep fryer, the tree, the lights; Those are the main ones that we see that cause unintended sparks.” Those are some of the top reasons people visit the emergency room over the holidays.

Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control suggest there aren't necessarily more injured people nationwide during the holiday season, however, doctors say they see a spike in certain types of injuries around this time of year. The others making doctor Brucker’s list; Allergic reactions from sharp objects like broken tree ornaments and falls.  Doctor Brucker says the combination of physical activity and climbing ladders can also contribute to a trip to the emergency room.

Brucker explains, “Lifting things that are a little bit too heavy. So, we see a lot of back injury particularly from getting things in and out of attics, lifting a lot of things in one day that you normally don’t do. So, we see a lot of people who throw out their back and have a lot of back sprains around this type of year.”  According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), 12,000 to 15,000 people end up in the emergency room every holiday season as a result of accidents related to decorating alone.

Go ahead and pull those family traditions out of storage and deck the halls, Brucker advises, just be cautious, “Have someone hold the ladder, and if there is going to be some holiday cheer drunk, make sure that is after hanging things.”  Keep those delicate ornaments and twinkling lights high and out of reach of curious children and pets.  Doctor Brucker also stresses the importance of taking care of yourself, “Even though little Tommy may want his Leggo, make sure you pick up your prescriptions, get enough sleep, and eat a good diet, because everyone wants you to be healthy.

Despite your best efforts, you may end up sick, hurt, or not feeling well. Making the most wonderful time of year the most dreadful and dangerous. If you do sustain an injury, Brucker urges to seek medical treatment. “We are open 24 hours a day seven days a week. We are here to help. It’s the timeliness of being seen.”  While fine holiday wines get better with time, but holiday injuries, especially ones to the lungs, heart and brain are a completely different story, and should be treated immediately.