Holiday hazards

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Stay safe this Christmas holiday

The season is upon us. Make it one to remember and not regret.

Exuberant times lie ahead: dinners to cook, lights to string up, gifts to wrap. But dear oh dear, it’s also one of the most disaster-prone seasons. To prepare for a season that doesn’t end up in ER, take heed of the most common hazards that might come down your chimney.

Alcohol poisoning

Lay off the booze until later in the day and even then, don’t overdo it. Eat food such as eggs, oats, salmon and yoghurt to help absorb the alcohol in your system and drink a glass of water between each drink.

Cooking

Pace yourself during meal prep. Watch out for hot oil spills, burning yourself when braaiing and cutting yourself. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Baking soda also will help with sudden flares. Work with one appliance at a time.

Tree injuries

Ensure that your Christmas tree has a strong and steady base to carry the weight of decorations. Switch off the tree lights before going to bed. Avoid using threadbare string lights that could cause short circuits. For the exterior, choose lights that are designed specifically for outdoor use. Miniature lights are best because they have cool burning bulbs. Don’t run electrical cords under rugs or beneath furniture. Keep animals away from electrical cords. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.

Pets

Of course pets deserve good summer hols but beware of the many good-time perils. First up, it may be tempting to give your dog those party leftovers, but these could cause gastrointestinal upset, or worse, pancreatitis. Mayonnaise and dairy-based items are anathema. And the fat from chops and gammon shouts pancreatitis.

Because dogs aren’t able to dissipate heat, always exercise them when it’s cool. Remember to provide shade and enough water.

Water activities are dog heaven, but tragedy can strike in the blink of an eye. Ease up on playing fetch in the water. Older dogs weaken more quickly, which means keeping their heads above water becomes increasingly difficult.

Don’t ever use fireworks near pets. If there are fireworks in your area, keep pets indoors.

When fishing, remember that dogs go bananas for bait and may swallow it along with the hook and line. Heaven forbid, if this does happen, don’t pull the line. Tie it to his collar and contact your vet urgently.

Stay safe. Happy holidays to you and yours!