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Friday, 7 December 2012

Holiday hazards - part 1


There are countless activities to become engaged in during times of festivity. We find ourselves shopping more, socializing more, driving more, decorating more, cooking more—in fact, we tend to live more, in a concentrated way, around holidays. The drawback is that increased activities present an increase in the risks of the dangers associated with any of these activities. However, with a little bit of mindfulness and foresight, such hazards can be dodged.

Children – with increased gatherings among family and friends, you can expect that you'll have a higher amount of contact time with children than you typically do, so it's important to be mindful of their health and safety. Be aware of the whereabouts, their medical conditions, and their temperaments to ensure that they are not getting into things that either put themselves at risk, or put those around them at risk of danger or illness.

Pets – While you are well versed in how to best care for your pets, your visitors may not be. Your guests may be very easily guilted into sharing their plate with your dog who knows just how to rest his head on a person's lap and beg with those woefully sad eyes. The danger is that, while dogs can consume a lot of what people eat, some foods are absolutely detrimental to them—particularly chocolate. Dogs who eat chocolate can become poisoned, and in some cases, even die as a result. So, before your guests are placed in such a situation, let them know what your dog can and cannot eat. Also, with all pets in general, children who are not used to being around animals can find themselves in two unpleasant predicaments: being harmed by an animal they have aggravated, and causing harm or injury to the animal. If you think there's a chance of either of these situations taking place, it may be wise to keep your pets and guests separate by limiting them to different rooms.

Unstable d├ęcor – precariously situated trees and ornaments, wreaths hung on hooks that can't support their weight, and swags haphazardly attached to surfaces are all disasters waiting to happen. Ensure that your tree is securely set in a properly fitting base, and that you don't have fragile ornaments hanging delicately on the tip of a downward pointing branch, ready to slide off to its demise and the first sign of someone sneezing. If you're going to hang a wreath on your door, use a proper door hanger that will support its weight. Fasten your greenery securely to make sure that it doesn't inadvertently turn itself into a weapon.

Mold – while damp winters already present this risk (thankfully, the dry Albertan air we breathe minimizes that), the risk of mold increases with the introduction of natural foliage into your home. Live Christmas trees, as well as swags and wreaths made from real evergreens can harbor mold, causing illness, and exacerbating respiratory conditions like allergies and asthma. The way to combat this is to spray any such foliage with a mold resistant treatment before bringing it into your home. Additionally, the use of an air purifier will further help to protect you from such a problem.

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