Holiday Safety: Tip No. 11

How to keep a trip to the hospital emergency room off your list of holiday stops.

The last place people want to end up during this time of year is at the hospital. Yet, the holiday season is also a time when accidents can occur.

"This time of year I see a lot of injuries, most of which can be avoided. Being cautious doesn't mean you still can't have fun. Precautions should be taken to prevent injuries from happening in the first place," said Dr. Andrew B. Peitzman, chief, division of general surgery and director of trauma for UPMC Health System.

Carelessness around sharp objects like broken bulbs and carving knives is a sure way to guarantee a trip to the emergency room. Peitzman offered some advice for on what to do if you are cut.

  • Be sure you have had an up-to-date tetanus shot (good for 5 to 10 years).
  • Thoroughly clean a wound with soap and water.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment.
  • Watch for signs of infection, increased pain, swelling or drainage.
  • Significant lacerations may need to be sutured. Consult with your physician or visit the emergency department.
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