New Year’s Eve Safety Tips

new yearsDon’t Drink and Drive.

People are two to three times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related crash during New Year’s Eve. Add bad weather, like rain, sleet, ice or snowy conditions to that mix, and it becomes the perfect storm for a fatal car accident.

  • Call a taxi or an Uber.
  • Ask for a ride home or choose a designated driver before the party begins.
  • If you’re hosting a party:
    • Collect keys ahead of time and only give keys back if you’re sure your guests can drive home unimpaired.
    • If you suspect your guests have had too much to drink and you need to take them to the ER, keep them sitting up and awake, keep them warm, and try to get them to drink water.

Firework Safety

One of the not-so-smart ideas is mixing fireworks and drinking. ER doctors treat lots of burns, finger injuries and eye injuries each New Year’s Eve.

  • Supervision from an adult is a must. Never give young children any type of fireworks. Even sparklers can be dangerous to small children who don’t know how to properly handle them.
  • Outside use only. Fireworks should never be used indoors or carried in pockets. Go to a clear area outside, away from vehicles and buildings.
  • Keep water on hand. Always have a water hose or a large bucket of water close by in case of a fire. Once you are done shooting off fireworks, use the water to soak all of the remnants to prevent a fire.
  • Have a “designated shooter.” Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix. Make sure that the person handling the fireworks is sober. This will decrease the possibility of accidents.
Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. There is no waiting like in the hospital emergency room waiting when you are sick.

Health Issues Affected by Cold Weather

cold weatherCold weather doesn’t create bacteria or viruses, but it can make your body much more susceptible to colds, flu and infections. Cold can also complicate many other conditions like heart problems. The body reacts to cold temperatures by constricting blood vessels and slightly thickening the blood, both of which put stress on the cardiovascular system. Exerting yourself in the cold then makes matters worse, and you may experience chest pain.

High Blood Pressure

Even in you don’t have heart disease, cold weather means increased blood pressure. Your body does this naturally to conserve heat. The body makes sure that your vital organs have blood, and so there is less blood flow to arms and legs.

Trouble Breathing

People with asthma also find that their condition worsens in the winter. Unfortunately, inhalation of cold and dry winter air makes a person much more susceptible to have spasms called bronchospasms, contractions of the lung’s air passages. Many doctors advise patients to take their asthma medications right before they exert themselves, like walking or winter yard work.

Circulation Issues

People with connective tissue diseases like Raynaud’s disease, lupus or scleroderma also have complications due to cold weather. The cold temperatures create blood vessel spasms that reduce or eliminate circulation to fingers and toes. Doctors advise these patients to exercise indoors during the cold weather season.

How to Help: Layer Up

To avoid these complications, protect yourself against the cold. Dress warmly in layers. The base layer closest to the skin should wick away moisture. The middle layer or layers should be insulating, such as fleece or wool, and the outer layer should be a loose-fitting windproof and waterproof outer layer. Air is the real insulator and the layered clothing helps trap air between layers to keep you warm.

Also wear gloves at all times. Socks can also be layered but make sure the sock closest to your skin wicks away moisture. Head gear is extremely important; wear a hat at all times that also protects the ears. Most of the body’s heat loss occurs through the head.

Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No waiting in the hospital emergency room waiting when you are sick.

How to Handle Holiday Anxiety

holiday anxietyThe holidays–it’s the most wonderful time of the year—and for many, also filled with holiday anxiety. You’re not the only one experiencing a reality far different from those peaceful scenes depicted in the movies. Twenty percent of American adults have mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, and during the holidays especially, millions more experience anxiety triggered by the stress of the holiday season.

Anxiety is fear of a situation—so much so that physical symptoms appear, such as stress, irritability, sweating and heart palpitations.

Why does this happen to so many people? One of the main reasons is that holidays focus on family time and it can be a painful reminder to those that don’t have the perfect family situation.

People are much busier during the holidays, and the packed schedule of trying to get work and holiday shopping and planning done can make people feel extremely anxious. Travel creates stress, as does the darker and colder days and bad weather.

There can also be lots of financial pressure during the holidays, and unrealistic expectations that things are going to be picture-perfect.

There are two main things you can do that will really help.

  1. Set boundaries—schedule time for yourself and set boundaries about working late, and try not to over-commit to holiday and family parties.
  2. Ask for help. Talk to someone—a trusted friend, or even a professional.

Here are some additional tips to try:

  • Try to get enough sleep, at least seven hours per night. You’ll be amazed how much this boosts your mood and improves your overall mental outlook.
  • Keep exercising, as it also is a mood booster. Even if you’re in the mall, just walk around to get some exercise.
  • Be social without over-committing socially. Don’t isolate yourself. Go have coffee with a friend, or go to a party that you normally would not attend.

If your symptoms get severe or unmanageable, be sure to seek professional help.

Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No waiting in the hospital emergency room waiting when you are sick.