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Tips to keep you out of the ER over the holidays

Emergency room

With the holidays fast approaching, there's often an increased risk of injury opportunities on the road, in the kitchen and in the yard.

Experts at Ascension’s Via Christi hospitals say some of the most common injuries treated in the emergency room are from car accidents, cooking, playing outdoor sports like football and putting up holiday decorations.

“The weather also can play a big part in holiday accidents, as streets get slick and people are in a hurry,” says Howard Chang, MD, who serves as medical director for the Emergency Department at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis.

There are nearly 38,000 unintentional motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. per year, according to the most recent data from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, Thanksgiving is the most common day for home cooking fires to occur, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind as you prepare for the holidays:

  • In the kitchen: Watch out for burns and wear proper clothing to protect yourself. If you’re frying a turkey, cook it outside and wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants. Never attempt to deep fry a frozen bird.
  • On the road: Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination to avoid speeding and feeling rushed. Don’t drive while tired.
  • In the yard: Some families like to throw the football around before heading in to eat. Pace yourself and be weary of sprains, strains and fractures. The same holds true for raking leaves or shoveling the snow that could be coming in the months ahead.
  • Up on the ladder: Falls on ladders happen frequently so make sure it is on a flat, dry and even surface. Don’t overreach and support the ladder at its base, either with another person holding it in place or by driving a stake into the ground at the base.

“Also, if you are prescribed daily medications, make sure that you think ahead and get them refilled before you run out at a time your physician office may be closed for the holiday,” says Dr. Chang.

To find the Via Christi Emergency Room nearest you, go to

About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Ascension Via Christi.