GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
But Santa isn’t the only one who’s busy during the holiday season – so are doctors in the emergency department.
According to Tom Waters, M.D., an emergency physician at Cleveland Clinic, too much ‘holiday cheer’ and overindulgence is a common reason people will take a ride in an ambulance, rather than a sleigh, during the holidays.
“Often times, we’ll see people develop gastrointestinal problems, or even heart problems from taking in too much salt,” said Dr. Waters.
Dr. Waters said many people get injured or sick from consuming too much alcohol. He advises people to enjoy the season, but know your limits – and always have a designated driver.
No one wants a new set of crutches under the tree – but another reason for a holiday hospital visit is injuries.
Playing outdoor sports, especially if the weather is cold and icy, can set people up for slips and falls, which can lead to broken bones and sprains.
He said cooking a festive meal can be a health hazard too.
“We tend to see a lot of kitchen injuries, such as lacerations from chopping,” he said. “If people are cooking a lot of things at one time; they’re pulling pots out, there’s water boiling, and we will also see a lot of burns around the holiday-times.”
Finally, stick to a list of healthy habits – and check it twice, this especially rings true for those with heart problems.
Dr. Waters said heart attacks and chest pain keep many people from enjoying the season with their loved ones.
“People who are susceptible to heart problems, such as congestive heart failure, all the things that we do around the holidays – that aren’t so good for us – can actually exacerbate their medical problems,” he said. “It’s important to stick with your diet, keep taking your medicine, listen to your doctor – enjoy the holidays, but don’t overdo it.”
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