Top Christmas health risks

With the festive break on us  here, in no particular order, is my personal selection of the top Christmas health risks.Top Christmas health risks High lights- low lights

It may look festive but dragging a tree – plastic or wooden – into your living room and covering it with electric lights and tiny glass baubles is asking for trouble!

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) around 1,000 people visit A&E after calamities with their tree and 350 following problems with Christmas lights. How many years have you been using those lights? Consider a new set, and remember to turn them off at night.

 Up in smoke

Candles cause more than 1,000 house fires and several deaths every year. Fairy lights, decorations and even Christmas cards are also a fire hazard. You are more 50% more likely to die in a house fire at Christmas than any other time. Make sure you don’t take the battery out of your smoke alarm to supply a new toy.

But remember the majority of house fires start in the kitchen.

Tread with care

There are more accidental falls and traffic accidents in December with bad weather and short daylight hours both playing a part.

Snow and ice can be a lethal opponent to even the fittest individual and the best drivers. Last winter there were 76 deaths due to exposure to the cold, 25 fatalities caused by falling on ice or snow and one involving ice skates.

Over eating

Let’s face it most of us will eat too much over Christmas. That’s not a problem if it’s a one-off, but two out of three adults are overweight or obese.

The British Heart Foundation says Christmas lunch can provide more calories than are needed in an entire day and has advice on how to reduce fat and calorie consumption, such as removing skin from turkey and eating slowly.


Whereas eating too much will simply harm your own waistline, excess alcohol can ruin the lives of others too.

Assaults – many fuelled by alcohol – and drink driving both rise over Christmas and New Year. There is also a rise in alcohol poisoning.

Seasonal ailments

There are always more deaths in winter than other times of year, with causes such as respiratory and circulatory diseases, and infections like flu.

There are five times as many emergency admissions for pneumonia in December compared to August and cold weather also triggers a rise in asthma problems .

Colds, sore throats and painful joints are all more prevalent in winter. There are things you can do to minimise some risks such as have a flu jab, stay warm and wash your hands regularly.

Lonely this Christmas

There’s only one thing worse than being surrounded by your relatives at Christmas and that’s not being surrounded by them.

Someone calls Samaritans every six seconds but the charity says the idea that Christmas is the busiest time of year is something of a myth.

Research suggests there is a fall in suicides during the Christmas period followed by an increase just after the New Year.

Of course loneliness is just one of many problems people face in the coming weeks.

Some will be confronted by a growing mountain of debt early in the New Year as Christmas bills start to pour in. Then there is marital breakdown – more people consider ending their relationship in January than at any other time.

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