Festive Health Hazards You Should Know (And Avoid!) This Season

’Tis the season for everything holly, jolly, merry and bright. But celebrating the spirit of the holidays takes more than just planning the perfect menu and stunning home decor. Thanksgiving to New Year’s can pose a greater risk for household injuries, including fires, falls, and food poisoning. 

Don’t let the hectic preparations become distracting when it comes to safety in the kitchen during the holiday season. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 3,800 people died from fire-related injuries in 2022, and 75% of those fires happened in homes. Home fires involving cooking peak on major U.S. holidays that center around cooking, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Christmas Eve. And the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one in six Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Cooking Safety

At the heart of your holiday season are your loved ones gathering together for a dinner to remember. Enjoy a delicious dinner and time with your loved ones for all the right reasons by following these cooking safety tips:

  • Clean – Wash hands and surfaces often. Illness-causing bacteria can collect on hands, utensils, and surface areas. Also, wash fruits and vegetables, but not meats. Click here for more detail.
  • Separate – Don’t cross-contaminate foods. Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can still spread harmful bacteria to ready-to-eat items if they aren’t kept separate. 
  • Cook – Poisonous bacteria can multiply quickly between the “danger zone” of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t guess – use a food thermometer. And that goes for reheating leftovers as well. If you’re thinking of deep-frying a turkey (or some other festive fowl) for your holiday feast, make sure you do it properly
  • Chill – Illness-causing bacteria can grow in perishable foods in just two hours. Refrigerate foods promptly and correctly. Your refrigerator should be set to 40 F or below and your freezer to 0 F or below.

‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly (And Safe)

“Holiday cheer” is often synonymous with alcoholic beverages in many people’s minds. There is nothing wrong with that thinking, but homeowners should be aware that they may be held liable in some states if intoxicated guests leave the party and cause injury or property damage to others. Protect your guests and yourself when hosting a holiday party by following these alcohol safety tips:

  • Encourage – The holidays are a time when people are more likely to drink beyond their limits than other times of the year. Therefore, encourage your guests to pick a designated driver just to be safe. 
  • Stock – Alcohol-free drinks can help counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Stock plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and serve food to keep your guests from going overboard. 
  • Call – Help your guests get home safely by either calling a cab for intoxicated guests or offering a place to sleep at your house. Anyone getting behind the wheel of a car should not have ingested any alcohol. 
  • Never – If you are a parent, you should understand the underage drinking laws and set a good example yourself. Never allow minors to drink.
  • Stay – As the host, you set the tone for the rest of your guests. Stay in control by not drinking too much yourself. 

Wishing You a Happy, Healthy, and Safe Holiday Season

Make a (safety) list and check it twice! The holidays are a time to celebrate traditions with your closest family and friends. As you gather with those you love the most, make sure the festive customs that make the holidays memorable remain safe and healthy. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and magical holiday season. Happy Holidays from all of us at Kleinpeter Schwarzberg Boutwell!