Safety first during the holidays

The countdown is on. There is traffic on the roads, traffic in the stores. Patience wears thin at times. And everyone has an extra long list of things to do before Dec. 24. Some of the issues people talk about most with their therapists at holiday time, according to www.wellandgood.com/, includes alcohol conflicts, too much unhealthy food, nostalgia and loss, anger and dread. There are numerous safety issues to consider, as well.

The beverages for the holiday season do not have to be alcoholic. And it will be challenging for someone who struggles with alcoholism. Those persons need support and encouragement to opt out of alcohol. Many people enjoy non-alcoholic beverages. It’s OK not to want non-alcoholic drinks.

When you host a party that includes alcohol or other substances that impair a person’s judgment and abilities, do not allow anyone who is intoxicated to drive.

The National Safety Council says that alcohol-impaired fatalities represent about one-third of the total of traffic fatalities. In 2015, 355 people died on New Year’s Day, 386 on Thanksgiving and 273 on Christmas.

NSC recommends:

— A designated driver.

— Everyone in the vehicle is buckled up before the vehicle moves.

— Cell phone put away unused during driving.

— Vehicle properly maintained.

— Emergency kit kept in the vehicle.

— Be prepared for heavy traffic and weather conditions.

But highway safety isn’t the only concern. There are safety concerns at home when you are decorating for the holidays … using a chair instead of a ladder can result in a bad fall and a trip to the emergency room. You may not think about the ‘angel hair’ that is made from spun glass and can send you to the ER with irritation of the skin or eyes. Best bet: wear gloves when you are handling it. And the artificial snow can affect the lungs. Follow the directions on the product. Poisonous plants like some poinsettias and glass ornaments, ornaments with metal hooks, etc., should be kept from the reach of children and pets. Make sure that nothing is laying around for someone to fall over.

When you are preparing food, wash your hands frequently. Refrigerate food within two hours. Cut turkey into pieces that can chill quickly. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the meat is fully cooked. And remember that leftovers are good for four days in the fridge, advises the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The holidays are festive and a source of enjoyment for many people. Taking steps for safety help to make good memories that will last a lifetime. No one can prevent every accident or injury. However, there are things you can do that improve the chances of enjoying the holiday season with friends and loved ones.

You can visit the NSC website (www.nsc.org/home-safety/) for a full list of items you might want to peruse, things you might not have considered which may need some of your attention.

Drive safely. Decorate safely – what warm memories come to mind of family gathered together to decorate the tree, the porch, and making traditional favorite family recipes to enjoy together. Happy holidays to you!

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

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