Many of us start our holiday preparations by “making a list and checking it twice!” Suddenly, we are overwhelmed by its length. The fact that baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping and travel all come before December 25 can be dismaying. If this describes your current quandary, please continue to read about how you can have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
The most commonly reported decorating injuries are lacerations, back strains and falls. Luggage-related injuries increased to approximately 75,500 annually, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) reports that holiday hand injuries are caused by carving a turkey, ham or roast and that tendon and nerve injuries are caused during meal cleanup (contact with a sharp knife or a broken glass).
Here are simple holiday tips for ladder safety, luggage transport and meat carving:
- Check ladders for broken hinges, rungs or loose screws, and wear proper footwear.
- Position ladder an appropriate distance from work space, especially when hanging or installing decorations.
- Have a friend or family member commit to being your ladder buddy – helping you stabilize and stay focused.
- Purchase luggage on wheels for ease of transport, and pack light.
- Place luggage on seat first, then lift into overhead compartment and lift with legs to avoid back strain. Avoid rushing to place bags overhead if connections between flights are tight. Consider placing under the seat instead.
- Make sure cutting utensils are sharpened, and cut away from the body when slicing meat. Stay focused on your task of cutting by minimizing distractions. Cutting space should be dry and well lit, and utensils should be dry, too.
- Do not allow young children to carve, cut or chop.
Please remember that spreading your workload over a reasonable number of days will also prevent over-fatigue and overuse conditions involving muscles, tendons and joints! If you incur a hand injury, please contact a hand surgeon in your area.
Heidi Hermann Wright, DHS, MBA, OTR, CHT is a certified hand therapist and a member of the American Society of Hand Therapists.