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Stay Safe and Be Merry: Avoiding Holiday MSDs

While franticly stringing up lights, helping relatives with their luggage, or dragging in the new Christmas tree, it’s easy to forget to be safe rather than sorry. Unfortunately, the holidays bring a spike in emergency room traffic due to all the running around and merrymaking. Holiday happenings are some of the most common ways people experience MSDs, or musculoskeletal injuries at home, not just in the workplace.

How Holiday MSDs Happen:

  • Climbing ladders while stringing lights and decorating trees; instability and reaching causes acute muscle train when shifting one’s balance.
  • Tripping and slipping on rugs, boxes, and holiday clutter in high-traffic areas.
  • Carrying heavy boxes of decorations, presents, or hot dishes piled high with heavier foods like turkey or mashed potatoes.
  • Rushing through airports with heavy luggage, lifting luggage into overhead compartments, and using duffle bags with shoulder straps instead of wheels.

How to Avoid Holiday Injuries

All of the ways these holiday MSDs occur involve carelessness. Slowing down to ensure the stability of a ladder, checking for obstacles in your path, asking for help when shifting heavier loads and setting the table with hot dishes, and giving yourself plenty of time to check in and safely navigate an airport can help reduce your risk of MSDs. Additionally, refraining from too much holiday merrymaking in the form of excessive alcoholic beverages while decorating or setting up the tree can allow for clearer thinking and better awareness of one’s body and safety.

Preparing for the increased traffic and movement with the right equipment is also a good idea for reducing risk. Using dollies and wheeled luggage in addition to a helping hand from a friend or relative can make transporting bags, snow gear, plates of food, and decorations much safer.

All in all, the holidays are some of the most enjoyable times of the year with family and friends. Staying safe and using caution during your usual holiday preparations can help ensure that you won’t spoil the fun with a trip to the emergency room or a sprained wrist. If you have any further questions about ways to avoid MSDs when lifting, pulling, or moving heavy loads this holiday season, don’t hesitate to contact us and speak to an expert.

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