Take Charge of Your Health
An article by Dr. Kirtland Culmer

Be Healthy at Christmas. Avoid Accidents and Violence
How wonderful it is to enter into the spirit of Christmas Ė the celebration of the birth of Christ with carol singing, gift-giving, parties and family reunions. How terrible it is to mar this festive occasion with painful episodes and tragedy. So much depends on how each of us acts during this time.

In an earlier issue, I offered the reminder that accidents, violence and poisonings are the actual leading cause of death and disability in the younger age groups in this country. We also know that during festive celebrations, these phenomena occur in increasing numbers. That is the reason for sending out another reminder at this time to have fun but TAKE CARE.

Road Traffic Accidents are at the top of the list of these reminders because of the pain, fatalities, maiming and great property damage resulting from these. Just recently, a fatal accident was reported in Long Island, so we need to be vigilant, not only in Nassau, but in the Family Islands as well. Especially at Xmas-time, with bumper to bumper traffic on almost every road in Nassau, we need to exercise great caution and Patience. We need to be Sober when we drive, and not messed up with Drink or Drugs. We need to pay extra attention to the Street Signs and Traffic Lights. We need to stop making Three Lanes in a Two Lane Street. We need to insist that Jitneys and Taxis Drive Sensibly. We need to inspire the motor cyclists to quit their Acrobatics on the Street. We need to have our cars Properly Serviced. We need to have our seat belts working, use them and provide car seats for our infants and small children. Then we can all Buckle Up and be safer.

Violence is a spoiler. Avoid confrontations with bullies, people who are bent on committing Road Rage, and those impaired with alcohol or drugs. Donít be embarrassed to walk away. It takes courage to be sensible. Donít Be A Dare Devil. Moderate your activities so that we can have fun together next year. Donít Spar with a Criminal if all he wants is your material things. You can always replace them, but not your life.

Accidents on the Job are usually avoidable. Have the proper tools of your trade, dress protectively, obey the safety rules, and make certain that your employers have them in place. Illness, injury and fatalities can occur on the job. Carelessness is responsible for the majority of accidents. In the rush associated with Xmas, try not to let your guard down. See that your employers do not risk your safety in order to make the extra Xmas dollars. Accidents and illnesses caused by hazards on the job place a heavy emotional and financial burden on you the victims and your families, and also a heavy financial load on the individual company or business and the country as a whole.

We will all be running to the beaches and the sea during the holidays to capitalize on our most precious resourcesÖ the sun, sand and sea. You need to take care that the pleasures are not dampened by the spoilers of the sea. These are the careless boat handlers, the jet ski riders, careless swimmers and divers, and parents who do not do the necessary surveillance on their very young children. We have had our share of tragedies, and we urge you not to drink or take drugs when operating sea craft. Have company if you wish to swim or dive for long distances, and watch your kids very carefully. Accidents in the HomeÖ Everyone is entitled to feel safe and secure in his own home, but unfortunately it is the place where one is most likely to have an accident, which requires medical attention. A special effort should be made to keep the home as safe as possible during the holiday season. Falls occur mostly in the very young and the very old. Fire is a great source of injury and death, and at Xmas time when children will be playing with matches and firecrackers, it is especially important to be vigilant and take proper safety measures. Hopefully your house has smoke alarms installed, and fire extinguishers handy. If these are not practical for you, be extremely careful. Watch the very young playing in the tub, pools or other bodies of water. Be careful to put things like medicines, cleaning supplies, kerosene, bleach, alcohol and other poisonous substances out of the reach of children. Remember also that the criminals are watching your homes to take your purchases, and wreak havoc on your preparations for this pleasurable celebration. Be more careful than ever to have your safety measures in place. Safety is No Accident. Take charge and make a very special effort to see that your holidays are blessed with love and pleasure. Have fun, but remember Whose birthday you are celebrating, and get your priorities right.