By Dr Eugene Brink
Holidays should be about fun and some much-needed rest and relaxation, right? Yes, it should, but reality doesn’t always turn out the way you hoped it would.
The truth of the matter is that tragedy may well strike while you are busy vacationing. Unwind you must because that is what holidays are for, but one should also be mindful of the hazards that may await you and your family. In South Africa, these are varied:
- Being robbed
Criminals are always on the prowl and even more so during the holidays when people are letting their guard down while taking it easy. They are also extremely adept at spotting a tourist from a mile away and know the hotspots frequented by unsuspecting out-of-towners all too well. Hence, don’t be too ostentatious with what you wear and carry and avoid places known for their high robbery and mugging rates. Avoid wearing new clothing as well as bags and footwear with famous brand logos emblazoned on them.
If you smell smoke this December, it might be you burning up under the blazing sun or something more insidious and harmful. Carelessness is one of your greatest foes over the festive[KS1] season as it might result in calamity. There are a myriad horror stories about people’s homes being destroyed in blazes on Christmas Eve. According to the news service CNBC, the National Fire Protection Association in the US reported that “between 2006 and 2010, fire departments responded to an average of 230 home fires annually that started on or near a Christmas tree”. Twenty percent of those fires we restarted by a source of heat being too close to the tree.
There is evasive action available to you.Firstly, know that candles and kitchen appliances pose a significant danger and should be kept in safe places and used judiciously. Secondly, make sure your Christmas tree with all its electric embellishments is sturdy and cannot be bumped over by pets and inebriated adults. Also, unplug all lights and extinguish the candles when you go to bed lest something flammable nearby catch fire.
Relaxing after a period of intense wrapping-up can wreak havoc with your immune system and leave you exposed to all manner of bugs that could ruin your holiday. This is why you are advised to confirm that the tap water at your destination is safe to consume. When purchasing bottled water, make sure the cap is still attached to the ring.Taking a vitamin booster or even getting vaccinated prior to finishing off at work and departing for your holiday destination are probably good ideas, too.
It is not called the festive season for no reason. People do silly things when cheerful, such as driving recklessly.Again, a few simple tips and rules should be heeded. Buckle up, avoid travelling in the evenings (if possible), don’t drink and drive (a wise choice in view of the police being out in full force), don’t drive when you are too tired, and keep your eyes open and on the road.
Mark Koba, 9 December 2013, “Beware:
Holidays may be hazardous to your health”, https://www.cnbc.com/2013/12/07/holiday-dangers-holidays-are-hazardous-to-your-health.html.
Unity Point Health, 17 December 2014,
“Top 8 Holiday dangers”, https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=01940ec0-042e-4b48-922e-e690e1bcbdd4.
Worldwide Insure, 7 August 2014, “Top 10
Holiday Dangers Abroad and How to Avoid Them”, https://www.worldwideinsure.com/travel-blog/2014/08/avoiding-holiday-dangers/.
[KS1]Silly doesn’t really mean silly.