Staying safe during this holiday season

The holiday season is always a festive time of year, but it can also have an impact on your physical and mental health. Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital (RPMH) is urging the community to be aware of their surroundings to keep themselves and loved ones safe through this joyous time of year. “Knowing what to look for in any environment is the first step to enjoying a safe holiday,” said Donna Boatright, administrator of RPMH. “Every winter, we see an increase in accidents that could have been easily avoided if the victims paid more attention to what they were doing.” While drunk driving definitely plays a large role in holiday accidents, stress, holiday decorations, toys and even foods are attributed to the number of patients admitted to the emergency room throughout winter months. RPMH has compiled a list of some of the things you should look out for this holiday season. Toys Millions of toys continued to be recalled each year because of defects and safety concerns. According to Boatright, everyone is encouraged to do their research before making a purchase for possible unsafe features that could injure your child or loved one. Selecting toys that are suitable for the age, abilities, skills and interest of the child can help reduce harm. If assembly is required, reading all instruction manuals and warning labels before allowing your child to play with their new toy can help reduce uncertainty. Foods The holiday season is a notorious time of year for weight gain in Americans. This year, keep this fact in mind by observing the ingredients of the foods you eat. It could contain items you are either allergic to or need to avoid. “Bacteria are often present in raw foods,” said Brenda Hollis, dietitian at RPMH. “Make sure meats and poultry are thoroughly washed and cooked, as well as raw vegetables and fruits.” According to Hollis, meats should always be thawed in the refrigerator and never on countertops. Foods that require refrigeration should also never be left at room temperature longer than two hours. Taking care of you Stress can easily increase throughout December for various reasons. While at work, try to save the easier tasks for the end of the day to allow yourself to relax before heading home. Returning calls, emails and previewing the next day’s schedule allows your body and mindset to relax, leaving you more at ease when you get home. Most importantly, you are encouraged to leave work at the office, and avoid bringing it home. It is also important to make time for yourself each day. Stretching, short walks, naps, exercises and hobbies can be extremely therapeutic for your physical and mental wellbeing. This is the time of year everyone should slow down and enjoy the season. From the holiday music to quality time with family and friends, make sure you do all that you can to ensure you and yours remain safe. Winter driving Local winter weather conditions can seemingly change in a heartbeat. Being prepared is key to making sure you are ready for whatever weather might come our way. According to Boatright, getting your vehicle serviced now and making sure your tires are appropriate to handle winter weather conditions are essential for road warriors traveling during the holidays. In addition, planning your trip and discovering the safest way to reach your destination can help save time and money. Most importantly, never drink and drive. Making sure you always have a designated driver or arranging for a ride home can make all the difference in saving a life—including your own. This is the time of year everyone should slow down and enjoy the season. From the holiday music to quality time with family and friends, make sure you do all that you can to ensure you and yours remain safe. About Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital provides healthcare for those in the communities they serve. Founded in 1976, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital offers a wealth of medical services including: 24 hour emergency care, advanced radiology services including CT scanning and MRIs, outpatient lab, physical therapy, surgical services, swing bed services, patient education, home health and assistive services, and more. For additional information, please visit