Avoid holiday emergencies – make it a season of safety

The holiday season has arrived, and with it come celebrations with family and friends, wonderful food and decorations, and normally, in the months of December and January, cold temperatures mixed with ice and snow.

Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital in Eagle River and Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff remind you if an unexpected emergency arises, to be sure and visit an emergency room. In cases of emergency, accidents and serious illness, the Trauma Center at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield is also available to handle all major trauma situations.

In order to avoid some of the more obvious winter injuries and accidents, it is best to play it safe. Choose a safe place to display your tree, and keep it away from heat sources and doorways. Keep your tree watered and make sure any ornaments are out of the reach of small children. A dry tree is a fire hazard, so take it down immediately after the holiday.

Lights can cause fires, so be sure to turn off your tree lights when you leave the house or go to bed. Do not run extension cords under the carpet, and limit the number of lights attached to an extension cord to three. When starting a fire in a fireplace, burn only wood, make sure the flue is open, and place a screen in front of the fire so sparks cannot get out and children’s hands cannot get in. Move any hanging stockings away from the front of the fireplace. Keep candles away from decorations and paper, and remember to blow out candles and extinguish the fire in the fireplace if you are going to sleep or leaving the room for an extended period.

Watching kids’ excitement during the holidays is fun, but taking a child to the emergency room is not. Be aware of food allergies like peanut allergies, and beware of foods that can cause a child to choke, like grapes, hard candy and nuts. Be aware of small toy pieces, so they do not make their way into kids’ mouths, and stop your child from eating holiday plants like mistletoe or holly berries, which can be toxic. In addition, if you are leaving the kids in the care of a babysitter, make sure you leave emergency numbers and a phone number where you can be reached, in case of an emergency.

When venturing out in winter weather, beware of frostbite. Frostbite can take several forms, including redness or pain in a skin area, a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, or numbness. Never clear snow out of a running snow blower, and if you are shoveling snow, use your legs, not your back. Push it ahead of you, and avoid lifting the snow, if possible.

Saint Mary’s Hospital Urgent Care will be available December 24 and December 31 from 7:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., and December 25 and January 1 from 7:30 a.m. – noon.

Emergency Services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital, 201 Hospital Road, Eagle River; Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital, 2251 North Shore Drive, Rhinelander; Ministry Sacred Heart Hospital, 401 West Mohawk Drive, Tomahawk; and Howard Young Medical Center, 240 Maple Street, Woodruff.

Happy holidays, and remember to be safe. In addition, if you do find yourself in an emergency, remember that your Ministry Health Care professionals are nearby and ready to help.

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