Holiday Hazards

WSVN — It’s time to decorate the tree and indulge in some holiday cheer, but some traditions should come with health warnings. 7’s Diana Diaz shows us the top five holiday hazards in your home.

Holidays are filled with cooking, decorating and entertaining, but there are certain seasonal items that can be hazardous to your family’s health.

First, holiday plants may dress up the house but some of those botanical beauties can actually be poisonous to children and animals.

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein: “Mistletoe is great for kissing, not so great for eating. If you’re a small child, you can certainly become severely ill. Holly is another gastrointestinal irritant, especially the red berries, which tend to attract kids and animals. Keep it up and away.”

While the star of the show, the Christmas tree, is not poisonous, it can be trouble for some people.

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein: “Some people can have an allergic reaction to the resin from the pine, from the sap of the tree. The real issue are the things that you put on the tree. Angel’s hair is one of the products that they throw over the tree to make it look like it’s snowing, some of those are made with fiberglass. If they get in your eye, they can cause abrasions. Christmas ornaments, many of the ceramic ornaments, are made with lead and those are potential hazards for children.”

You may not want to toast to number three. Eggnog is a big holiday tradition in many homes but it can be a potentially dangerous drink.

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein: “The problem with eggnog is two-fold. One is that people use raw eggs and that carries a salmonella risk. The second problem is with the alcohol itself, particularly with children.”

If you leave treats out for Santa, keep in mind chocolate is on the naughty list for your pets.

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein: “What a lot of people don’t realize about chocolate is that it contains a chemical called methylxanthine, that is very similar to caffeine and this can be a very toxic issue to your cat or dog.”

And most importantly, many holiday toys and gifts now come with tiny disc batteries that are easy for kids and pets to swallow.

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein: “The positive and negative pole is on the same side of the battery, they can burn the esophagus and penetrate through the esophagus and can be catastrophic.”

Also, watch out for electrical cords that can cause burns if pets chew on them. And if you have guests in your home, make sure they keep their medications out of children’s reach.

For More Information:

Poison Information Center
1-800-222-1222

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