First Aid for the Holidays: Not your standard tips

You’ve probably read dozens of holiday articles that give you the standard tips for surviving the festive season (e.g., don’t eat too much, get some exercise, etc.). This isn’t one of them. This is possibly the world’s first list of helpful holiday health tips.

What to do if a child or pet eats a poinsettia plant. 
You might wonder how this could happen. However, if you have pets or kids, you know a lot of strange things go on. The hoopla about poinsettias being poisonous started around 1920 when a Hawaiian child reportedly ate some leaves from the plant and died. This report was based on rumor and never confirmed. Research since then seems to indicate that about the most that could happen from getting “up close and personal” with poinsettias is some people might get a rash from the leaves, and children could get a mild tummy ache (rarely vomiting) if they ate the leaves. As with most houseplants, it’s probably best to keep your kids and pets from grazing on your poinsettias. But the word is, this is not a very toxic plant.  

However, mistletoe and holly berries are. If a child or a pet does chow down on these plants, check with Poison Control 1-800-222-1222 . 

What to do if someone is choking on a piece of candy cane.
If─and only if─the person who’s choking can’t cough, talk, breathe, or is turning blue or dusky, then try the choking rescue procedure, i.e., the Heimlich Maneuver. This may help pop out that piece of candy cane.  

How can you prevent choking? Don’t drink too much wine or other alcoholic beverages at holiday parties. Alcohol dulls your senses and may cause you to gulp down big pieces of food and choke. Keep popcorn, nuts, or hard candy away from children younger than 3 years —they can’t chew these foods well enough to manage them safely. 

What to do if the family get-together is driving you nuts.
Isn’t it great to see your mom and brother-in-law? Sometimes family togetherness added to old, unresolved issues added to holiday tensions make the season feel like it’s something to be endured instead of enjoyed. If you find yourself in tense setting, give yourself a break—go for a walk or drive around and look at holiday lights. Be kind to yourself in these moments. Consider applying the message in this Health4U blog post by Lisa Laughman. 

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