The holidays are near and the season is busy with travel plans, parties and visits from relatives and friends. Chances are you will probably be eating plenty of food that doesn’t agree with your resolution for a healthy new year. Now is the time to take extra precaution for a safe and healthy holiday season and avoid the trip to a hospital Emergency Room.

Here are a several tips to keep you and your loved ones from visiting the E.R. during the holidays:

  • There may be small children around so be sure to keep your medication out of reach and out of sight.
  • The flu season is in full swing. To help avoid the spread of germs, make sure you get your flu shot, wash your hands often and keep hand sanitizer handy.
  • As you travel this season, you may find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings. Be conscious of furniture, throw rugs, cords and anything that may cause you to trip and fall. Keep a flashlight near you as you sleep, or have a night light on, to avoid falls at night.
  • Watch what you eat. The holidays may tempt you to indulge on less than healthy fares, but stay conscious of your diet restrictions.

A trip to the hospital can put a damper on holiday plans, but if you need immediate care and your symptoms are not serious, go to an urgent care center rather than the Emergency Room. The co-payment on an urgent care visit can be half the cost of an E.R. visit. The wait times are usually better and you won’t need preauthorization to visit urgent care. At the E.R., you may also be exposed to patients with more traumatic conditions, including injuries from serious car accidents or gunshot wounds.

Don’t let this season be a blue Christmas because of sickness or injury. Take preventive measures to ensure you enjoy this season with your loved ones in good health.

For more holiday health and safety tips, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.