Be aware of common risks during winter monthsThe holidays are a celebratory time of year, but with cooking for a crowd and hanging lights at the top of everyone’s list, these times are also ripe for unexpected accidents. Take note and prepare for these five commons risks. 1. Slips or falls from hanging decorations.Roughly 5,800 people a year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for falls associated with holiday decorations. More than half of these are caused by falls from ladders or roofs while decorating outdoors. Be sure you are using a ladder of appropriate height, planted firmly on the ground and do not reach beyond a comfortable limit. Ask a friend to serve as a spotter while you work.2. Electric extension cords.An estimated 4,000 injuries associated with electric extension cords are treated in hospital emergency rooms annually. 50% of these involve fractures, lacerations, contusions, or sprains from people tripping over cords and 13% of these injuries involve children less than five years of age. Electrical burns to the mouth account for 50% of the injuries in young children. Keep cords away from children’s reach and tape down cords that run across high traffic areas. When unplugging cords, be sure to pull out the plug directly from the wall outlet.3. Fire-related accidents.Each year, an average of 260 home fires begin with Christmas Trees and an additional 150 home fires begin with holiday lights and other decorative lighting. These fires result in twice the injuries and five times more fatalities per fire than the average winter fire. Monitor tree lights and make sure they do not get too hot. If you will be away from your home for an extended period of time, consider turning them off. 4. Poisonings. The risk of poisonings increases in the winter months due to misuse of common household items and exposure to carbon monoxide. For every 10 poison exposures in children, approximately 9 occur in the home. Keep cleaning supplies sealed and out of reach of children. Be sure to check the batteries in household carbon monoxide detectors. 5. Flu or common cold.Each year, 5% – 20% of adults will get the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to complications that arise from the seasonal flu. At the same time, most adults get two or three colds per year, most often in the winter. When traveling this season, wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer, especially after using public transport. Practice mindful eating and get enough sleep to keep your immune system strong.Not all accidents and sicknesses are avoidable.SGMC Urgent Care is open every day 10am – 9pm, including holidays, to treat minor injuries and illnesses for those 24 months and older.See How SGMC Urgent Care Can Help >Statistics reported by the Electrical Safety Foundation International, United States Consumer Products Safety Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The information provided in intended for informational purposes. The information is collected from a wide variety of health care authorities. It is not intended in any way to take the place of physician supplied medical advice.