Christmas and New Year are times of year that many look forward to, with the chance for decorations, parties, gifts, good food and family celebrations. To keep everything running smoothly so nothing spoils your enjoyment, there are some dangers to consider and tips to avoid them to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Over the past two years, Covid-19 has dominated the news. With the emergence of the new Omicron variant, the dangers are as real as ever. The advice on social distancing, handwashing and covering the face remains as important as ever, with masks now mandatory in many indoor venues.
If you feel unwell, you should isolate at home to avoid potentially spreading it to others. Covid symptoms include a cough, fever and loss of taste and smell, while symptoms particularly associated with Omicron are headaches, muscle pains, stuffy nose and upset stomach. If you experience symptoms, you should take a PCR test to confirm whether you have contracted the virus.
Regular rapid antigen testing is also a good idea to help pick up asymptomatic cases, so you can avoid spreading it to loved ones. Matrix Diagnostics can supply batches of rapid antigen tests to help pick up asymptomatic cases as well as a Covid-19 PCR test with a two day turn-around-time for results.
Getting vaccinated will help you avoid the virus, particularly the severe effects, so if you have not yet received your first, second or booster dose, now is a good time to book the jab. Of course, Covid is not the only illness spreading in the winter, so be prepared with a stock of paracetamol, throat lozenges and tissues for tackling the winter sniffles.
Many people enjoy a drink at Christmas and there is nothing wrong with that, but remember to drink responsibly. Irresponsible drinking at best can leave you feeling unwell and unable to fully enjoy the festivities and, at worst, can cause a serious accident.
Nowhere is this more apparent than on the roads. Every year, campaigns warn against drunk driving, but every year, there are serious and fatal accidents. If you are going out, decide in advance who is driving home, so they can opt for soft drinks. Alternatively, check public transport routes or book a taxi for the journey home.
Wind, rain, snow and ice are common weathers experienced over the Christmas period. If you are planning a trip to visit family or friends elsewhere in the country, check the weather forecast before setting off to make sure roads are clear and safe. Falls are also common in snowy or icy weather. Being out in the snow can be fun but wear sensible footwear and wrap up warmly.
Candles are a lovely touch to add to the festive ambience, but they are also a fire hazard. To enjoy your candles safely, make sure not to leave them unattended, use a heat-resistant holder, do not let them burn near anything that might catch fire and keep them away from small children and pets.
With Covid-19 on top of the usual seasonal hazards, this Christmas may seem a daunting one. However, by taking a few sensible precautions, you can help yourself and your loved ones enjoy themselves this Christmas.