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None of us want to include an unplanned trip to hospital this Christmas, so here are some top tips from Powys Teaching Health Board to avoid some common Christmas injuries:


Falling off ladders

Broken bones and cuts and bruises are caused every year due to Christmas related injuries. Whether it is falling off the loft ladder to retrieve your much-loved decorations or tumbling off a stepladder while you are decking the halls, care must be taken. Always wear no-slip shoes or boots, make sure your ladder is on a flat surface and have someone hold the ladder for extra stability. And if you are rivalling Blackpool Tower with your outdoors display, you may want to consider contacting the professionals.


Christmas lights

Twinkly fairy lights make everything look festive but we do need to take precautions. Check your lights for damage, breakages and loose wires before using them and always follow the guidance supplied by the manufacturer. Only ever replace bulbs with the same type and rating originally supplied and make sure outdoor lights are plugged into indoor sockets. Before you go out or before you go to bed, always switch off your lights and unplug them.


Deck the halls safely

If you have small children, place the glass baubles towards the top of the tree, well out of reach. Double check that the decorations that children can reach comply with safety standards to prevent choking or other accidents. If you like to adorn your tree, or other parts of your home, with beads and garlands, avoid any risk of strangulation by swapping them for paper streamers or place them out of reach.

If you love bringing in foliage and flowers at Christmas, check whether they are toxic. Mistletoe berries, for example, are poisonous.


Avoid heavy lifting

Whether you are lifting heavy boxes of decorations or shifting furniture to accommodate your festive bubble this Christmas, always take care. Lift with your legs rather than your back and, if in doubt, ask for help.


Drink in moderation

Christmas 2020 may be a little different this year but alcohol-related accidents can still happen, even when the pubs are closed. Drink in moderation and NEVER drink or drive. Dyfed Powys Police launched its anti-drink and drug drive campaign earlier this month. Supt Jones-John said: “As the festive season gets underway we are reminding drivers of the dangers and consequences of getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs.

“Our message is simple; if you are out and know you will be drinking, make sure you have plans for getting home safely without driving. If you do have to drive, our advice is to avoid alcohol completely. The only safe limit is none.”


Avoid kitchen chaos

The kitchen can be a risky place at Christmas with boiling liquids, hot stoves, sharp knives and spills on the floor. According to the Powys Teaching Health Board, a common Christmas mishap is cutting yourself when chopping the swede.

If possible, try and prepare your Christmas dinner in peace and quiet. Ask your family and friends to stay out of the way while you are cooking – especially children. The last thing you need is little ones trying out their new rollerskates while you are preparing your feast! Clean up as you go along, wiping up spills and avoid a tipple until after you have finished cooking.


Bikes, rollerblades, skateboards…and a trip to the Minor Injury Unit!

And while we are on the subject of rollerskates, let’s talk new toys. Bikes, skateboards and rollerskates are popular gifts at Christmas and children (and adults!) will want to try them out as soon as they have ripped off the wrappings. Just remember to try them out in a safe area that is free of snow and ice and always, always wear a helmet. Knee and elbow pads are also a good idea!


Candles

We know that candlelight looks beautiful at Christmas but people are 50% more likely to die in a house fire over the festive period compared to any other time of year. Never leave candles unattended, never put them on or near a Christmas tree and always place them in appropriate candlesticks or containers  (tealights can burn through surfaces) – and always take care with children and pets.


Finally….relax!

Hopefully, if you prepare in advance and take steps for a safe Christmas, your festivities will be stress-free. Often the pressure we place on ourselves at Christmas can result in increased stress which can cause major health problems. So remember to take some time out from demanding relatives to relax. And if you are struggling, ring the C.A.L.L. Helpline on 0800 132 737 or visit online at www.callhelpline.org.uk.


ARE YOU FIRST AID READY?

Senior Sister Louise Richards from Powys Teaching Health Board says, “Help us to help you this Christmas. A well-stocked and prepared first aid kit means that many injuries can be managed at home.”

NHS 111 Wales recommends that your first aid kit contains:

  • Sharp scissors that can cut through fabric, if needed
  • Sterile eyepads
  • Crepe bandage
  • Triangular bandage, to make a sling
  • Sterile gloves
  • Alcohol-free wipes
  • Safety pins
  • Tape
  • Plasters and dressings

It is also worth making sure you have enough medicines in the house before Christmas so stock up on:

  • Your usual cough and cold remedies
  • Anti-inflammatories to ease aches and pains
  • Antihistamines to combat any allergic reactions. But if your reaction is severe such as swollen lips or tongue and breathlessness, dial 999.
  • Indigestion antacids
  • Anti-diarrhoeals
  • Painkillers for headache, toothache and so on – and if you have children, make sure you have enough medicine to take down a fever.

Always check first with your pharmacist before taking any medicines and keep them out of reach of children. Please make sure you have enough of your prescribed medicines before Christmas. Always allow seven days between order and collection or delivery.

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