Thursday, November 13, 2008

COMMENTARY>>Simple techniques to have a happy and safe holiday

Simple techniques to have a happy and safe holiday
By Col. David Stanczyk
19th Medical Group commander

Itís Nov. 14. Halloweenís past. The electionís past. The World Series has passed. Now, all eyes are looking forward to the holidays. Itís a wonderful, traditional time to get together with family and friends. However, itís also a time where injuries increase, usually due to a lack of situational awareness and not applying risk management practices to the home life.

Since 2000, the average annual number of fatalities on the road over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is 573. Half of these victims were not wearing seatbelts. Nationwide, seatbelt usage is about 80 percent. It doesnít take a genius to take the last two sentences together and realize that you are far more likely to survive an automobile crash if you wear your seatbelt.

Plenty of accidents can also happen in the home. To avoid burns in the kitchen, do not wear tops with long, baggy sleeves.

Also, always use potholders and treat every dish as if scalding hot. If you do suffer a burn injury, immediately run cool tap water over the affected area and then cover it with a sterile dressing or dry cloth. This will both reduce the discomfort and help prevent infection. If the burn is more severe and blistering occurs, seek immediate medical attention. Fires can also happen, so do not leave cooking food, fires or candles unattended.

Choking is another important hazard for both children and adults. Some main causes are inadequate chewing and also talking or laughing while eating. Remember your mother scolding you as a child for talking with your mouth full? This is why. So take your time, chew thoroughly and of course supervise your children. One other point is that alcohol inhibits the nerves that assist swallowing, making choking more likely if inebriated, so drink responsibly and not at all if driving.

Using such simple techniques to mitigate risk can help ensure everyone has a happy and safe holiday. Enjoy!

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