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Avoid the ER This Holiday Season

Claudia Ortiz-ortiz

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    Elite Los Angeles Nursing Program

    The hospital emergency room can be a very hectic place during the holiday season. Normally, most hospitals work like a well-oiled machine throughout the year. However, during the holiday season, they may be short staffed with people on vacation. Whenever possible, it is a good idea to avoid going to the emergency room unless you or a family member are truly having a medical emergency.

    What Is Considered a Medical Emergency?

    You should never put off immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:

    • Uncontrollable bleeding
    • Chest pain
    • Severe stomach pain that is accompanied by sudden vision changes, dizziness, uncontrollable vomiting or vomiting blood
    • Breathing difficulties
    • Symptoms of stroke, such as trouble speaking, walking, seeing out of one or both eyes, and weakness or numbness on one side of your body

    Staying Out of the ER During the Holidays

    You can reduce your risk of ending up in the emergency room by avoiding common holiday mishaps that occur more often during this time of year:

    • Keep poisonous holiday plants like holly or mistletoe out of the reach of children to prevent them from ingesting the plants’ berries
    • Do not leave candles burning unattended in your home
    • Be careful with extension cords that may be lying around your home because of holiday decorations
    • Exercise care if you are on a ladder hanging holiday decorations
    • Do not drive drunk and avoid driving (if possible) on New Year’s Eve - Get a designated driver in advance!

    Paying Attention to Your Health

    Keeping up with regular checkups with your primary physician during the year can help prevent health emergencies from happening. Early detection of any possible medical problems can keep you out of the hospital emergency room.

    It is easy to become run down around the holidays. You may be more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu. Make sure you get plenty of rest, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of fluids. And most off all — enjoy the holiday season with your family and friends.

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