By Elizabeth Simmons

Thanksgiving: a time for food, family, fun, and maybe a trip to the emergency room. Thanksgiving can be one of the ER’s busiest days of the year. Since most other places are closed for the holiday, anyone with a health complaint heads that way.

“More than anything, this time of year, a lot of people show up in the ER with the common cold,” said Dr. Doug Nunamaker from “Some think they have the flu and others just can’t get in to see their regular doctor, so they come to the ER because of a cough.”

To prevent the spread of illnesses like the cold and flu, make sure to wash your hands, especially after hugging all your relatives. You may think you’re just spreading the love, but you may also be sharing sickness. Other than the cold and flu, there are plenty of other things that can land you in the ER over Thanksgiving. This is, after all, a holiday involving large knives and hot stoves.


Be Careful with the Knives
Speaking of, watch where you’re putting those knives whether you’re chopping vegetables or carving the turkey. One slip and you could be asking the nearest family member to drive you to the hospital for stitches. Also, though fairly common sense, keep knives out of the reach of kids.

Pay Attention to What’s Hot and What’s Not
Many Thanksgiving kitchens are packed full of dishes all being prepared at once, so be sure to keep track of which are too warm to touch. Burns are another common holiday injury, and can be avoided by making sure to use an oven mitt or pad.

Leave the Frying to the Professionals
No, you don’t have to go find a professional turkey fryer, but do carefully consider if the flavor of deep-fried turkey is really worth all the risks. To get the fried flavor, the turkey has to be submerged in gallons of boiling oil. That oil could explode, spill, splash and/or drip and cause some serious damage to your holiday festivities.

Don’t Poison Your Guests
Any time a celebration involves food, there is risk of one or more of the guests getting food poisoning. Luckily, this isn’t a particularly common problem on Thanksgiving. “Rarely do we see food poisoning or anything like that,” Dr. Nunamaker said. Even though the risk is low, be sure to keep you and your guests healthy by ensuring nothing is past its expiration date and everything is fully cooked to the proper temperatures (that’s 165 degrees F for the turkey).

Remember You’re Not a Pro Athlete
Many families celebrate Thanksgiving with a pickup game of football. Truly, what could be more festive than tackling your extended family to the ground? Just make sure when you do you don’t injure them. Also, make sure you’re not overdoing it. A family football injury could result in a dash to the ER instead of the end zone.

Keep these in mind as you enjoy your celebrations for a happy and healthy holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

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