How to Stay Out of the ER This Thanksgiving

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 22, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Taking some simple precautions can help keep you and your family healthy over the Thanksgiving holiday, says an emergency medicine expert.

"A few simple steps to avoid preventable injury or illness can go a long way toward making sure you safely enjoy the holiday," Dr. Paul Kivela, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in news release from the organization.

First, follow food safety guidelines. This means washing your hands thoroughly after handling uncooked meat and keeping it separate from other foods. Sanitize any surface that touches raw food. Refrigerate all leftovers within two hours.

If you have allergies and did not cook the meal yourself, ask about the ingredients and how the food was prepared.

Drink in moderation, the doctors' group advises. And, do not drink and drive.

In addition, carefully plan and prepare meals so you don't feel rushed. Knife injuries, which often occur when people slice food too quickly, are among the most common types of Thanksgiving accidents, Kivela said.

Trying to do too many things at once is another cause of accidents, including fires. When lifting heavy pots or plates, bend at the knees to avoid back injuries.

Deep-frying a turkey can be especially risky, more so if it's your first time. Never deep-fry a frozen turkey; it should be completely thawed out first. Always fry a turkey a safe distance from any flammable structure.

If sports are part of your Thanksgiving gathering, be sure to stretch first and avoid overexertion. If it's cold outside, dress appropriately to prevent hypothermia or frostbite.

"Distractions, multi-tasking and poor decisions make Thanksgiving one of the busier days in many emergency departments," Kivela said. "If an emergency does occur, don't delay a trip to the ER. Putting off care might seem convenient at the time but poses serious health risks."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers holiday health and safety tips.

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