TAMPA - Doctor Andrew Alexander works the emergency room at St. Joseph's Hospital. He's waiting for a Bayflight patient - post drowning - but this time of the year he sees more of an increase in holiday related injuries. The most common: traffic accident victims.
"More people are traveling; more people on the road, people are in a hurry. People are driving while intoxicated, he said."
But some more mundane hazards can be just as dangerous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says - on average - six thousand people a year go to the emergency room due to packaging-related injuries. And the CPSC says during November and December more than 13 thousand people will need medical help after decorating injuries such as falls, burns and lacerations.
Dr. Alexander says, "People hanging lights tend to lean over rather than stop and move the ladder. They reach when they shouldn't and tend to fall so we see a lot of broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and head injuries. You can really hurt yourself falling off a ladder. "
To avoid injuries keep ladders on level ground, clear debris from the area you're working in, and the CDC warns not to stand on the top two rungs of the ladder.
Reportedly each holiday 230 home fires start with Christmas trees resulting in - on average- four deaths - 21 injuries and 17 million in direct property damage. So make sure live trees are fresh, trunks should be sticky and wet with resin. Keep trees away from heat sources and use lights that have been tested for safety.
And finally, Dr. Alexander says, "A lot of people travel during the holidays and they forget to bring their medicines or if they do remember them they don't take them like they should. They're eating a lot of unhealthy food, and that leads to higher blood pressures, higher sugars, just over all worsening health. "
Carving accidents are also common during the holiday season because hosts are often rushing, talking and drinking when cutting up the turkey, ham or roast.