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Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Shoveling

The hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season leads many people prone to bone, joint, and muscle-related injuries because they have let their guards down. Don’t let common festive activities cause pain for you this season.

Here are some tips on how to prevent injuries and safely enjoy the holidays:

Fall Prevention
Be mindful when putting up decorations. Before starting, clear the room of any clutter and keep pathways free of tripping hazards such as gift boxes or decorations. If you need to rearrange furniture to make room for an item such as a Christmas tree, familiarize yourself to your new surroundings. Falls can happen when people trip over furniture in unfamiliar places.

When putting up decorations that are out of reach, make sure to have the proper equipment. You may need a step stool or ladder. The ladder or stool should be properly set up on a firm surface, watch out for uneven flooring or soft spots outside. Having someone support the ladder can prevent tipping and falling. While moving materials such as lights on trees, be cautious while on the ladder. The ladder should be positioned close to your work area so you do not lose your balance and fall.

Make Traveling More Comfortable
If traveling for the holidays, either by plane or by car, there are prevention strategies to make traveling more comfortable. For both modes of transportation you may be sitting for long periods of time. If driving take breaks often – stop at rest stops and alternate drivers. If traveling by plane, stand or take a short walk in the aisle when you have an opportunity.

When preparing for travel, take time to pack properly by packing light and choosing a suitcase with wheels to avoid injuries. When carrying your suitcase to the car or through the airport, remember to use proper lifting techniques. Use your back or waist to lift items and utilize your leg muscles by bending at the knees. Take care when lifting luggage into an overhead bin or into a trunk and always ask for assistance when needed.  

Winter Safety Reminders
Take precautions when walking outside in the winter, especially if you have your hands full carrying presents, shopping bags, or trays of food into a party. Assume the pavement is slippery and take short and slow strides. If you do fall and have any persistent pain, it is important to see a doctor.

If snow has fallen and you need to shovel, prepare for the task by stretching and warming up your muscles with light exercise. Start removing light snow early to avoid shoveling heavy snow. Use your legs to power the shovel as opposed to your lower back. Bend at the knees and try to keep your back straight. Refrain from twisting your back to deposit the snow, instead turn your whole body. Don’t forget to pace yourself and take breaks.

Maintaining a daily stretching program, exercise routines and all physical activity is always beneficial, allowing you to enjoy the season and manage winters' challenges. Whether you are traveling, staying at home or find yourself in a cold-weather climate you can avoid injuries by celebrating in moderation. We hope you enjoy the holiday season!

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