Healthbeat 4: Safely putting up or taking down Christmas decorations

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 6:43 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Some people have already hung up their Christmas lights with the mild weather we saw throughout Siouxland the last few weeks.

Up on a housetop, you’ll be stringing lights across your home for the holidays. But even Santa Claus has to watch his step up there.

Trae Bergh, a physician assistant with CNOS, says more people come into the urgent care this time of year.

“With the Christmas lights, we see a lot of people trying to get up on ladders, which definitely puts them at risk of a fall. We see things like foot and ankle fractures, even shoulder fractures if they fall and land on that side. But the big thing is, you know, this year we’re seeing this a lot in urgent care, the numbers really start to pick,” said Bergh.

Bergh says if you can’t walk, if your limb is bruised, or swollen, you need to get to the doctor.

Seth Tonner works for holiday cheer lighting in Sioux City. He spends the weeks leading up to Christmas making people’s homes sparkle at night. And Tonner knows firsthand how risky it can be without a buddy.

“So a lot of times people will go out there and try to hang Christmas lights themselves. And what ends up happening is they find themselves in a difficult situation, either the ladders tipping over, or they’re getting on top of the roof, and then they’re going to be falling down trying to get that last bulb in....because if you fall off that ladder, chances are your deductible is going to be probably a few $1,000 and you’re gonna wind up in a hospital,” said Tonner.

And he says it is important to know your limits.

“So if it’s cold, like today is freezing cold, it’s extremely cold. Or if it’s icy, snowing or raining. Those are the times you probably should call a professional because if you’re going to be getting on a ladder, even with a buddy those situations get extremely dangerous,” said Tonner.

Tonner’s last tip: If you want to be the next Clark Griswold of Siouxland, watch out for the electrical side of it all. Make sure you aren’t trying to work with your lights while they’re plugged in.

Bergh says if you put off getting an injury treated, it may not be able to be fixed at all by the time you get to the doctor which could lead to a lifetime of trouble.

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