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Indianapolis EMS Emphasizes Safety During Holiday Season
Emergency care providers recommend having a stocked first-aid kit
Indianapolis, November 25, 2013 — With Thanksgiving around the corner, many families are planning menus, sprucing up the house and making arrangements for holiday guests. Indianapolis EMS is reminding families of important additions to their holiday to-do lists: taking the proper steps to prevent illness and injury and creating a well-stocked first-aid kit.
According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, cuts and burns are common injuries that bring patients to the emergency department on Thanksgiving. And Indianapolis EMS data shows a slight rise in reports of choking and nausea on this holiday in particular.
“The holidays present quite a few risks for illness and injury,” said Dr. Charles Miramonti, chief of Indianapolis EMS. “Families should take the proper precautions when preparing food and enjoying the season.”
To help prevent injury and illness from occurring this holiday season, remember to childproof your kitchen: keep knives and cooking utensils out of reach of children, turn pot and pan handles inward on the stove to avoid grabbing, and monitor the kitchen to ensure kids stay away from the stovetop and oven.
It’s also important to follow proper food handling and storage practices to reduce the likelihood of foodborne illness, monitoring refrigerated dishes and cooking your turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to wash your hands before and after preparing food to prevent the spread of contaminants.
Finally, slow down and savor the day, chewing food in between conversations at the dinner table to prevent choking and being careful not to overeat to prevent indigestion or an upset stomach.
Despite being cautious, injuries and illness can still occur. To be prepared for common holiday maladies, as well as the unexpected, it’s important to have a well-stocked first-aid kit handy at home. Keep these items around:
- Antiseptic wipes
- Antibiotic ointment
- Over-the-counter hydrocortisone ointment
- Adhesive bandages
- Sterile gauze bandages
- Aspirin, ibuprofen or another pain reliever
- Cold compress
- List of local emergency numbers and family emergency contacts
Store all of these items in a plastic box or zip them in a bag, and place the kit in a cool, dry location that you and your family can easily access, being sure to keep it out of reach of small children. Check the items in your first-aid kit every few months, replacing expired items and checking that thermometers and battery-operated supplies are functional.
Families should also review and keep handy a first-aid manual or a first-aid app for a smartphone, like the American Red Cross First Aid App, for the basics on treating burns, cuts, punctures and other common injuries. If injuries are severe, call 911 immediately.
“While it’s important to be able to properly prevent and treat injuries at home, never hesitate to call 911 when they are out of your scope,” said Dr. Miramonti. “Seeking proper medical care immediately when injuries or illnesses are anything more than minor is crucial to the health and safety of your loved ones.”