Christmas means carnage in many households, according to a top ER doctor.
Dr John Heyworth, emergency department consultant at Southampton General Hospital and president of the College of Emergency Medicine, says that every year he sees the same injuries caused by preparing and cooking the festive feast.
“People are likely to burn themselves on the oven or cut themselves as they carve the turkey – particularly if they have been drinking alcohol,” he says.
Dr Heyworth is also urging family members to keep an eye on doddery relatives.
“We will always see someone who chokes over Christmas, often the elderly. They will choke on a piece of meat because they don’t chew it properly,” he warns.
Increasing globalisation has brought new hazards, with avocados proving particularly lethal.
“Instead of putting a knife across the stone and twisting, people tend to stab down and then either go through or slip off into the hand, often resulting in a nasty injury,” said Rob Crouch, emergency department consultant nurse.
Staff in the hospital’s eye casualty unit also issued a note of caution.
Sister Emma Powditch said: “The main problems people come in with over Christmas include scratches to the eye from Christmas tree branches as they place and retrieve gifts from under the tree and corks hitting the eye, which causes significant bruising and swelling to lids as well as inflammation and swelling within the eye.
“We would just say don’t put presents too far back under the tree and open bottles pointing away from your own and others faces to avoid unnecessary and damaging injury to the eyes.”
Eye unit staff have even seen eyes injured when trying on new zip-up sweaters, as well as facial burns from exploding Christmas tree lights.
They also commonly see children suffering after poking themselves or others in the eye with new toys, bits of glitter in the eye from cards or craft activities, and dry eyes from sleeping with eyes open after one too many drinks.