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8 tips for a safe and healthy holiday season

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Photos: monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto
7

Prepare for company

If you’ll be hosting a holiday gathering, planning and preparation are essential to keeping your guests safe.

Inside, you’ll want to make sure any extension cords you’re using to power decorations are placed out of walkways. Pick up rugs, blankets, toys or other items that could be tripping hazards. Then, make sure your home’s hallways and entertaining rooms are brightly lit – this goes for your doorway and front porch, too.

As for outside, make sure driveways, sidewalks and steps are clear of snow and ice. Follow these shoveling and snowblowing safety tips:

  • Warm up for a few minutes and stretch your muscles before heading outside.
  • Wear layers so you can remove some if you get too warm. Also, put on gloves or mittens, a hat, a mask or scarf, and waterproof footwear.
  • Take a break in a warm, dry place after 15 minutes.
  • Make sure you use the right shovel for removing snow. According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, the handle of your snow shovel should reach your chest “to reduce the amount of forward bending.” A D-shaped handle is ideal to avoid putting your wrist in awkward positions.
  • Push the snow to the sides instead of lifting it, and don’t overload the shovel – wet snow can be extremely heavy.
  • Don’t leave a snowblower unattended while the power is on, and don’t put gas in it while the engine is running.
8

Be well

Research has shown that the stress of the season can bring on heart attacks – and that some people hesitate to seek treatment because they don’t want to disrupt the festivities. Shortness of breath; pressure or pain in your chest; lightheadedness; and/or pain in your arm, shoulder or neck are common symptoms of a heart attack. If you’re experiencing any of them, go to the ER.

And of course the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. The CDC recently updated its guidance on enjoying another holiday season while taking precautions:

  • Protect young children and others who aren’t yet approved for a vaccine by encouraging eligible people around them to get vaccinated.
  • Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you’re in public indoor settings, especially if you aren’t fully vaccinated.
  • Remember that outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor ones.
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
  • If you’re sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
  • Get tested before you go anywhere if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone who has it.

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